Overloaded on bad news? You are not alone. When we tune in to see what is going on, all we see are reports of economic uncertainly and a divided political climate, natural disasters, shootings, terror attacks, and allegations of sexual assault. While it is important to be informed, being a “news junkie” can be very damaging. It can cause anxiety which translates into insomnia, stomach upset and headaches. The constant attention on negativity creates neuropathways in the brain which tell us we are unsafe, activating a constant state of fight-or-flight. Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist and faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College. She shares some of the health benefits of taking a break from the news.
You reconnect with yourself. When you unplug from the outside, you plug into the inside of who you are. You’re able to think of the kind of world you want to live in and assess what you can do within your own life to live well. People make the mistake in feeling guilty, selfish or uncaring if they aren’t commiserating with others on some negative news event. What you are doing is self-preserving and protecting how you feel.
You’re attentive to those who matter most. When you watch the news, you get absorbed and tune out everyone around you. Your kids may try to get your attention or worse, may hear the news on in the background while they are around making them anxious and concerned for their safety. (more…)