Coronavirus, Black Lives Matter, Presidential Election 2020…there are many reasons to get anxiety from news outlets. Once one story passes, another horrible headline pops up. So, what is it with the media and anxiety? Here’s why we get anxiety from watching the news and how to cope with these never-ending cycles of negative coverage.
Why Do I Get Anxiety Over the News?
The most effective way of handling anxiety is getting to the root of what is triggering these emotions. That way, you can plan and tailor your responses accordingly so that these situations don’t upset you anymore. Here are some of the reasons we might experience anxiety from reading news or watching it on TV.
We’ve Become Dependent on the News
Many of us turn to the news in times of guidance. We rely on the local news to let us know about potential hurricanes or snow cancellations. That way, we can plan beach days or get a babysitter for the kids for snow days.
Society also relies on national and global news. They keep us updated about which city is breaking out in riots or which country just got bombed.
Also, we rely on the news to keep us entertained. All of us get lost in celebrity break-ups and become genuinely upset when our favorite team blows the big game.
If the news mills are running slow, we turn to social media. Now, our friends, families, and that random person you met at a party 15 years ago are your entertainment.
When it’s all said and done, we’ve become dependent on the news. Essentially, it’s a one-sided relationship. They provide the content, and we mentally crave it.
Furthermore, we also talk to these devices and call them by human names. This interaction only furthers the emotional ties. It becomes an almost human-like dependency, which studies have shown, people with dependency issues also tend to have an anxiety disorder.
In addition, a recent study found that the average American spends over 11 hours per day consuming media. That’s a lot of time for consuming negative content. No wonder we get anxiety over the news!
News Topics Hit Close to Home
There are so many divisive items in the news these days. Racial tensions are flaring, political parties are sparring, and economies are suffering due to the pandemic. It’s almost impossible not to be affected by the news.
It’s fair to say that we all want to see the good in people. However, there’s so much ugliness on the news that makes us question things.
We look at ourselves and wonder if our neighbors judge us by the color of our skin. Others might be coming to terms with certain privileges they didn’t know they had.
Perhaps we’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19, and watching the death tolls spike back up in states reopening can open wounds that aren’t ready to heal. On the other side, those of us who haven’t lost loved ones to the novel coronavirus might get frustrated by the hysteria caused by the media.
However, the news sometimes causes us to reflect on how society got to this point. It makes us challenge our ideas and pushes us to better ourselves and our world. Questioning our past notions of ourselves and others can be uncomfortable and cause high anxiety.
The News is Designed to Cause Panic
As we discussed, we have a dependency on the news. They know which topics matter to us, and they cover every angle of the story exhaustively. Even if there’s no breaking news, they will reword what they’ve already said to sound new and pertinent. It works!
When there is a crisis, we turn to the news for details. Let’s look at a study conducted in Israel, a country that has been embroiled in wars for decades.
Since there is always a war, a study about 500 Israeli citizens’ media-viewing habits found that 87.2% watched the news regularly. That’s already a high number. Yet, 76.7% of people watched even more news following a 2015 Gaza War outbreak.
Furthermore, those who watched more news were 1.6 more likely to experience at least one symptom of anxiety, including:
- Uncontrolled Fear
- Physiological Hyperarousal
- Sleeping Difficulties
- Fearful Thoughts
War, illness, crises, and protests keep our attention. That translates to ad revenue for television commercials or pop-up ads on websites. Yes, these topics are important. However, the hours dedicated to covering them are designed to cause fear and dependency.
It Causes Conflict in Social Circles
One of the most significant reasons the media and anxiety go hand-in-hand is the social implications it has on you. Since many of us rely on the media every day, these news briefs help us formulate our opinions on topics.
Everyone has an opinion on just about everything. However, it doesn’t mean you need to always share it with the world. Unfortunately, our aunts, uncles, and childhood friends haven’t gotten the memo.
Loved ones will bring up politics over the Thanksgiving dinner table. Friends will go on pro or anti-mask rants on social media. You’ll even have a friend who will overshare their thoughts on race after a few drinks. Seeing somebody that you respect in a different light is an immediate trigger for experiencing anxiety.
5 Ways for Decreasing Stress and Anxiety from News
The news won’t go away. It shouldn’t. Freedom of the press is a Constitutional right. However, you have that same free will to think for yourself, as well. Don’t let the media and anxiety get the worst of you. Here’s how I’ve been coping with anxiety from reading and watching the news. I hope it helps you, too!
Limit TV Time
The average person spends 2.8 hours per day watching TV. If your 24-hour cycle includes eight hours of sleep and eight hours of work, three hours of TV leave you with just five hours leftover.
That’s five hours to
- Do Chores Around the House
- Spend Time with Loved Ones
- Partake in Hobbies
- Run Errands
Running out of time yet? Then cut down on watching so much TV! When you do watch TV, limit your news intake. Try watching something that will enrich your life instead.
Cue up a documentary about a topic you’re interested in learning. Stream a show in another language with the captions on. Watch a comedy show. Consume media in ways that will promote encouragement, not anxiety.
Use Social Media Filters
Putting the word “social” in front of “media” doesn’t change what these platforms are. They are modes of content consumption. 62% of adults get their news from social media.
Reading on social media makes it easier to share your opinion. Just click the “share” button and type your thoughts. After you hit “post,” the whole world knows your take on the globe’s most pressing issues.
While these features are great for starting an open dialogue, it can also open the floodgates for fights and trolls. Use your social media filters to limit the amount of news in your feed. Also, hide posts from people who post things that are disturbing to you.
Now, don’t get that confused with blocking people who have a differing opinion. We only learn when we’re being pushed to think outside of our paradigm. Naturally, that causes us to feel anxiety. Instinctually, you’ll want to fight back or block the person.
At the moment, think about why you feel anxious. What is triggering you? Do they have a valid point, or are they just being mean? If they have a point, you might want to DM them and discuss the topic further. Getting an outside perspective might be what you need to pop your anxiety from news bubble.
As Frank D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” What is fear? According to Google, fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.”
The belief that someone or something is dangerous.
In other words, fear is the unknown. So, to get over anxiety from reading news, you could read more about the topic…just from another source or different perspectives.
Remember that study where we said people watched 2.8 hours of TV per day. The study also denoted that the average person reads 15-44 minutes per day. Crack open a book about topics that make you uncomfortable and learn about them.
If you’re coming to terms with racial plights, try reading the diaries of Fredrick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders. For those who have faced racial discrimination, you might also discover ways on how you can help.
Those who are nervous about the coronavirus can read books about boosting the immune system naturally. Pick up a cookbook with plant-based recipes and try your hand at cooking something new.
Creating a game plan and learning how to move forward is essential for decreasing stress and anxiety from news.
Meditate and Exercise
Overwhelming research suggests that exercise and meditation can improve symptoms of anxiety. When we’re constantly consuming media coverage, our brain gets fat with negative thoughts.
We worry about the outcomes of these situations and how we can help them as a part of society. Sometimes, you just need to hit the reset button.
Working out and meditation is an excellent way to give your brain a break. It allows you to revert your focus on something productive, which is improving yourself mentally and physically.
During your workouts, don’t be tempted to listen to news podcasts or to watch the TV as you do cardio. Instead, listen to music or the ambiance of the outdoors.
We consume so much garbage on the TV that we need to consume something healthy to counter it. Studies show a strong correlation between high-fat diets and television consumption.
Furthermore, studies also suggest a link between high-fat diets and anxiety. Judging by the present company, it’s safe to assume that media and anxiety go hand-in-hand.
We must reclaim our health by changing our consumption patterns — what we watch, read, and eat. Long-term dietary changes don’t happen overnight. So, a fantastic way to transition to a healthier lifestyle is through all-natural supplements.
Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene contains all-natural botanicals, vitamins, and minerals scientifically proven to lower anxiety levels. Most of the ingredients help the body produce more neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA.
Tranquilene contains the amino acid, tryptophan, and Vitamin B3. Your body uses this vitamin to transform tryptophan into serotonin, our joy molecule.
Also, serotonin is a known appetite suppressant. So, we are less likely to consume empty calories while we experience anxiety from watching the news.
Meanwhile, Tranquilene also has GABA, a calming brain chemical. It also helps boost natural GABA production with the inclusion of L-Theanine, an amino acid that is the building block for GABA. With more GABA in the system, we’ll be less likely to become consumed by our thoughts and emotions when reading the news.
Stop Getting Anxiety from Watching the News
You can’t turn off the news altogether. There are so many important things going on in the world that call for our attention. However, you shouldn’t become dependent on the news.
Once you become dependent, you open yourself to more anxiety from the news. Limit your consumption and find other activities to devote your time to. Also, use your social media filters to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by others’ opinions.
Lastly, change some of your routines. Include more exercise and meditation. Alter your diet to cut down on fatty or sugary foods. Use all-natural supplements like Tranquilene to help bridge the gap to a healthier you.
- Most people get anxiety from watching the news.
- The media is designed to create fear and dependency.
- You must limit the time spent consuming media to stop anxiety from news.
- Make changes to your reading habits, social circle, and diet to prevent anxiety from reading news.