Mental Health and The News
Over the past few months, the news has been extremely overwhelming. At the beginning of this year, it seemed like the Australian wildfires were going to win for the biggest and saddest news story; however, we were quickly met with COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd. Right now, looking at a news feed can be a lot, and sometimes it can be hard to manage the irresistible desire to see what’s happening in the world when all it brings is sadness.
In no way am I saying that completely ceasing to read the news is the right thing to do. It is important to be aware and involved in today’s society, so that we are able to bring change to causes that we care about. Obsessively reading news stories about sad events happening in our world will not by itself bring change, but instead, lead one to be overwhelmed by what they read. There are many good habits that should be adopted while reading the news and going through social media that will overall make it less overwhelming and easier to manage.
Check Your Sources
This seems to be something that everyone knows they should do, but maybe don’t unless they are writing a paper for school. On social media especially, facts that are not real or don’t tell the whole story are shared all the time, so double check what you are reading, and more importantly, what you share with others, so that untrue things aren’t spread across the internet unintentionally.
Know Your Limits
If you start to feel yourself getting overloaded with what you are reading, take a break and come back to it later. If you have trouble with that, setting limits for yourself on how long you spend online is another beneficial way to make sure that you aren’t taking in too much information at once. And while it is tempting to click the continue button on posts that are flagged as sensitive content, be sure that you are actually considering if it is a good idea to view the post, because it has been flagged for a reason.
Make Real Change
In today’s world, social media is the biggest way that things are shared. If you see something that inspires you to make a change in your community, follow through instead of spending hours replying to the comments of people that you don’t agree with. Research on ways that you can help a cause that you are reading about, whether that be making masks, donating money, or signing a petition. Educating yourself on issues in the news is extremely important, but it’s not beneficial until you use that knowledge that you gain to help make a difference.