Staying informed is definitely important but it can take a toll on your mental health. It can be difficult to read the news and not get depressed. Check out this article about the effects of negative news. That famous saying “if it bleeds it leads” is true and most of the headlines we see are violent and negative. Here are some of the things that I do to not get really F-ing depressed and still stay engaged in the news.
Technology has made it very easy to consume news all day long. I’m guilty of this. I get notifications from news apps on my phone and I read the news online all day. Being constantly plugged in was making me focus on all of the negative things that are happening in the world. I started limiting myself to only reading the news twice a day and I deleted the news app off of my phone. It’s difficult to read the news and not get depressed when you’re reading it all day. Taking a step back has helped me stay in the moment and appreciate all the blessings I have in my life.
Pick a Time
Decide when you are going to get your news and make it part of your routine. I like to read mine while I eat breakfast and before I watch TV at night. Before I got into this habit I was literally reading it all day long and it really stressed me out. Making it part of my routine lets me spend time thinking about positive things and feeling happy.
Pick a Focus
There is so much happening all the time, it’s impossible to follow every story. Pick issues that you care about and become informed about them. If you care a lot about the environment figure out what the big stories are related to that and become super knowledgeable about what is happening. Following a story you really care about in depth can make you a powerful advocate for the issue. You only have a certain amount of time and energy. Being able to become an expert on a topic so you can educate others about what is going on is a great use of your time and can help you from feeling overwhelmed and powerless.
Always critically analyze everything you read and realize a lot of our media is coming from a place of bias. Read news sources that you disagree with just to try and understand the other side. Really challenge yourself by trying to understand all the different views of an issue. We have access to so much media now it is really easy to only read stuff that reaffirms our beliefs and never challenges us to see different perspectives. Try understanding the issues from all sides and checking your sources.
Read Something Positive
If you read a lot of news it is easy to feel like the world is a terrible place and nothing good ever happens. Remember there are people doing kind things and helping their communities all the time. Try reading through the good news section of the Huffington Post.
Your mental health always has to be a priority. If you’re struggling and not able to read the news without getting depressed, take a break. I read a lot of news on my social media, so when I need a detox, I usually take my social media apps off of my phone. Commit to not reading any news for a day, weekend or week. This will give your mind a chance to focus on things that are directly affecting you instead of worry about things that are out of your immediate control.
Pick one cause to get involved in. I recently set up monthly donations to the ACLU. There are so many causes that need help it can be overwhelming. Pick one organization you really care about to get involved in. If you can’t afford to donate money, sign up to volunteer and donate your time. This way when you read the news you know you are doing something to help make the world a little better. No matter how bad things seem to remember you aren’t powerless.
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