Psychological impact of news and its ways of coping
Day in and day out, we are surrounded by news. People turned to news in order to stay connected to the world. Though, news can be stressful at times due to which many of us experience anxiety levels of so high that we have difficulty in coping. So, how can we stay anxiety free when media bombard us with news that spook us?
It may seem as though we may have entered in the age of bad news. From the past year, newspaper are covered news relates to civil unrest, falling economy, wars, health problems. It seems like a vicious cycle of negative news trapping the individual and interfering with the well-being of the individual.
When people started reporting of tension, worry due to alarming news headlines. Some therapists describe this at its own phenomenon. Therapist Steven Stosny (ph.d) refers it as Headline Stress Disorder in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. He spoke spoke about its own personal experience with clients when gruelling news cycle lead to increase in worry, helplessness especially in females as they remember things more clearly than males. They have more persistent psychological reaction to the stress, according to study conducted in 2012.
"Many people feel devalued, personally, rejected unseen unheard and unsafe. They reported a sense of foreboding and mistrust about the future “Stonsy writes.
A survey conducted by APA (American Psychological Association) between August 2016 and January 2017 in which United States reported that there is overall increase in stress from 4.8-5.1 on a scale where 1 means no stress and 10 means high levels of stress. This was the most notable increase in stress. In 2019 another survey was conducted by APA in which there was not much difference except there is increase in stress among the people regarding climate change and sexual harassment.
Report's author found that millennials and Gen Z almost 7 in 10 (72%) agree with the statement that "media blows things out of proportion " In addition to this, more than half agree they want to stay informed but following it causes stress. Author also added that many of the individual deal with this issue by avoiding news “Nearly 39% reported that they have taken steps over the past years to consume less news.
When trapped in this vicious cycle of negative news the best approach is take a break from news at least for a while as daily exposure of these negative news can interfere in well - being of the individual. Diverting the attention from news can make one's mind feel refreshed. For example- reading book, music, engaging in the hobby and taking time out for family and friends etc. It is important to rejuvenate oneself to carry out our effectively. MNT (Medical News Today) spoke with person who suffers from complex post traumatic disorder and taking a break from news was the only of way coping with news- related anxiety. She told that she had huge news anxiety and to cope up with she stopped reading news. Therefore, she rarely have an idea about what's going on around her. Though it helped it her to get out of bed.
Another way which one can reduce news related anxiety is doing positive. Suppose you have read news regarding the recent climate change and its impact on the world. Instead of getting worrying about it take a step forward in positive direction like planting trees and check vehicular exhaust. Studies have shown that when people engage in community service it leads to decrease in stress levels and boosts one's wellbeing also they can identify themselves with the community.
Another thing which can reduce news related anxiety is looking for positive news is constructive journalism; journalism that involves applying positive psychology techniques to news processes and production in an effort to create productive and engage coverage while holding true to journalism core function. One person when spoke with MNT told that positive streak of news helps balance out the negative. Also it instils one with hope that there are people who are making progressive changes
In this digital age we can get access to news anywhere anytime but downpour of news at times impacts the well -being. One needs to take a break to recharge oneself. "News may connects us with world but our wellbeing us with healthy life"