Today, you can catch a breaking new story every minute on your smartphone, computer, or tablet. It’s easy to be lured into the media headlines that cause you to experience fear and anxiety. However, you are the one who chooses to watch or read these articles and news programming.
Don’t get trapped by the continuous around-the-clock hype!
If you find yourself wanting to know what’s going on in the world, what the president has done, on top of any breaking news situation, then you must stay informed. But, do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed. The beautiful thing is you have the power to control what you see and hear.
We Can’t Always Blame the Media
Reporters and news outlets have one job, and that is to keep the public informed. However, they also add some aspects of entertainment into the mix. It’s not good for your mental health to watch and read continuous negative things going on in the world.
Since there is rarely positive stuff in the news, you must pick and choose your content appropriately. You must cut down the amount of media that you consume as well as watch the sources. Some media outlets tend to be more biased towards one political party or another, and they over-analyze things.
You must separate what’s news from what’s entertaining. Having specialists in breaking down every word of the president or other officials’ speech is not news. Mindless bantering back and forth about current events or topics is not necessary for you to hear.
You need to cut to the crux of what’s going on and leave the excessive stuff out. All the bantering is nothing but entertainment, and you don’t need to be entertained by reality television with such negative connotations.
5 Ways to Control News Programming Consumption
Did you know that other countries don’t put so much focus on the news as the American people? Finland, for example, thinks it’s boring to talk about politics or what’s going on in the news media. They don’t believe that we need violent stimulants to get people to tune in to their programming.
In the United States, people have become consumed with getting late-breaking news at their fingertips. While it’s good to be in the know, it can be counterproductive too. Too much of a good thing is sometimes too much.
The news puts their focus on murder, death, pandemics, politics, and other things that bring nothing but violence, pain, and fear. While these outlets have an obligation to inform the public, you get to say when you’ve heard enough.
Many people could benefit from news media detox. While you should never shut out the world and not be informed about the current happenings, you need to control your intake. Here are five ways that you can stay informed but not be overwhelmed by the news media.
1. Create Healthy Boundaries
Life is all about creating healthy boundaries, and when it comes to the news, it’s not an exception. The best thing you can do is avoid making the news the start of your day. If you find yourself scrolling social media or other outlets to get the latest stories, then you may find that it starts your day on the wrong foot.
Change your consumption times and style. Try to catch the most important news in the evening or on the weekends. You need time to process some of the things you hear. There are also news media outlets that tend to be funnier rather than so stiff and argumentative.
Find a source that provides reliable news information that doesn’t upset you or make you feel anxiety. You need the facts, but you don’t need all the bickering and bantering about all the trouble in our government either. You can’t hide under a rock and not know what’s going on, but you can control how much and when you get your news programming.
2. Choose Only the Topics That Interest You
Within the news, there are hot topics, things you need to know about, and filler content. You can choose what you want to hear and avoid everything else. You can pick the topic like you choose what you want for breakfast each day. Select current events, weather, or another focus.
When you pick and choose what you consume, it will change how you feel after reading the news. If you just want the weather forecast for the day, then there is no need to watch an hour show and become overwhelmed by all the stuff you hear.
Additionally, since there are things that happen that are considered breaking news, you want to be informed. Things like 9/11 can happen at any time, and you want to know when dangerous situations are a concern. Choose an app that gives you like the top five breaking news updates so that you can stay updated.
3. Don’t Use Only One Source
You must be careful about the news outlets that you select to get your news from, as some are based on hype more than fact. If you’ve been on social media outlets, then you know that there is a great deal of fake news that can be very misleading. They pass around stories of celebrities that have died that are still alive and kicking.
Finding a trusted news source is the first requirement. Additionally, you want to find news programming that aligns with your view. For instance, if you are a liberal or a conservative, there are outlets based on your specific preferences.
Some people may want to find out about things going on across the globe, especially if they have loved ones in another country. Finding a news outlet that reports for a specific area is helpful to these folks. You don’t have to limit yourself to a particular source. Find a couple of news outlets that you rely on to keep you informed.
4. Watch Who You Follow on Social Media Sites
Facebook and Instagram are great sites to connect with politicians both near and far. However, you must watch who you follow as they may jam your news feed with alarming headlines that you don’t want to hear.
In times of American history, like during elections, it’s best to stay off social media or unfollow these people. You will be so overwhelmed with the banter and mudslinging that it can be quite unnerving. Think of the news the same way you do your diet. You must eat only what you want and trim away the unnecessary fat that does horrible things to your body.
5. Make Sure You Engage with Local News Too
While you may be worried about what’s going on in the country or the world, it’s also necessary to know what’s happening in your local area.
You may or may not have a news station that handles your region, so turning to the newspaper is the next best option. It’s essential to stay up on local and national government.
Other Tips to Consider
If you find yourself being emotional or having anxiety or panic after watching the news, then you need to find another source. Many people find that the nightly news programs are too much for them or their children to handle.
Remember, your children are nearby listening to those current topics too. The talk of murder, home invasions, war, and other inappropriate child content can be frightening. The evening programs will make current events a priority, and they use provocative headlines to draw a crowd.
Keep in mind, news stations play a numbers game. They try to get as many people to watch their station over their competitors. It’s hard to watch news programming these days and not have some sort of emotion. Just be aware of the emotion you are experiencing and learn to process what you’ve heard.
What is your motive for watching news programming? Do you find that you like it as it’s entertaining, or do you just want the headlines and nothing else? Regardless of your goal, you need to make sure that you don’t look for outlets that only substantiate your viewpoint.
If you find that you have all sorts of emotions when you watch the news that causes panic, then taking a news fast can help. Some people don’t care what’s going on in the world around them because they believe that being ignorant of such matters equals bliss.
There are many countries in the world that don’t put such a focus on the news as the American public. However, there is a fine line between staying informed and not being overwhelmed. You must find an even medium to make sure you know what’s going on around you without being affected by your intake and ruining your positive outlook.