Taking a break from screens might help your anxiety

Turning on the TV lately seems like an awful dream replaying over and over. With shootings, missile tests, animal attacks, and story after horrible story, it seems like the world is plagued with bad news. As if the bad news isn’t enough, you soon find yourself watching your back and worrying about every bad thing that could possibly happen. Life is meant to be lived fearlessly, not merely survived, so why are we dwelling on the bad news?

I know the feeling all too well. Anxiety runs in my family, and it is something that I have accepted as part of me since a young child. I never imagined how bad it could get after 1) having a child, and 2) trying to keep up with current events. Trying to raise an innocent child in this crazed world is hard enough, without worrying about every possible freak accident or terrorist attack that could happen. How do you get past it, though? How do you convince yourself that it’s best to let go and live a little, while at the same time being smart and aware of your surroundings?

The problem is that good news rarely makes the headlines. Every story is about another death, sickness, or threat to the human race. It is enough to get anyone’s heart racing a little. There are news stations out there that like to share good stories now and again, but that’s not the money maker for them. Bad news gets the clicks and shares that these companies want, so of course they are going to keep the bad stories coming. For anyone who tries to keep on on the news and stay informed, this can be detrimental to your health.

With the upcoming elections, the gloves are off and people from both sides are playing dirty. The scare tactics they use are meant to sway voters, but at what cost? Aside from dividing everyone into “sides,” they are keeping us on our toes, wondering what is going to happen next. When do we finally decide enough is enough, and that it’s time to turn the news off?

News stations play on our human emotions, in order to gain more viewers, so they emphasize on the negatives. By playing our emotions they can literally effect our mood- whether it be sadness, anger, or fear. The worst part is that it can affect your livelihood and performance long after watching the news. A study showed that those who watched a negative news bulletin thought and talked about their worries for long after, and even started to catastrophise their worries. This means that those who watched the negative news spent so long dwelling on it, that they built it up so much in their minds until they were convinced it was a much bigger deal than it really was. It’s no wonder people are getting so heated up arguing about current events!

It’s important to acknowledge that bad things do happen, on a daily basis. We can’t be ignorant with the thought that these things won’t happen to us, because they can. Finding balance between reality and fearlessness is key. We need to always be aware of our surroundings, and be prepared for the worst at all times. At the same time, we can’t live our lives under a rock, fearing for the worst. What is the point in living if you are worried all the time? Turn off the news, put away your phone, and live your life. Choose one time each day to read the top news stories of the day, and move on. Anxiety is no fun, and for those who are at a higher risk of anxiety and depression, are more likely to be harshly affected by the bad news. Don’t worry, there is more good than bad in the world, and it is our job to find it.

Gabrielle PfeifferGabrielle Pfeiffer

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