6 Ways to Lessen Headline Anxiety
We are constantly exposed to the news and events going on in others’ lives through social media, phone applications/notifications, and television outlets. This almost constant exposure to negative/bothersome information is hurting our mental health. In fact, it has become so common that this type of anxiety has been named Headline Stress Disorder.
It happens to all of us. You are having a reasonably good day and you start to scroll through social media or pick up your device to see a headline from a local news source and your mood lessens. You may even start to feel sad or depressed. Feeling anxious or down after scrolling through social media channels or watching/listening to the news is common—and completely understandable. The media, especially these days, tends to highlight all the negative things happening around the world while burying the happier events. It can be hard to not let all the ‘bad news’ get to us.
That is why the counselors, therapists, and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania have created this list of ways you can reduce stress and anxiety when triggered by social media and the news:
1.) Avoid it When Possible
If you notice the news or social media are triggering anxious feelings, consider turning them off. It is not always possible to avoid it but there are some steps you can take to cut back on your exposure to negative news. Set specific times of the day when you will check one or two reliable sources of news and leave it at that. If there is truly something earth-shattering you need to be aware of in between those times, you will likely still find out.
2.) Delete Apps/Groups that Trigger Anxiety
Similar to the above tip, if you notice certain apps or social media groups that bombard you with information and leave you feeling down, delete them. Social media has a way of running away with the news and discussing it at length. It is an open forum for anyone to give their opinion. Be mindful of how and where you are receiving information and how you feel, then take steps to limit intake.
3.) Throw in Some Positive News
Consider changing your social media feed to follow some more positive news or downloading apps that will notify you of happy things, or daily gratitudes, rather than the negative. Some positive news applications you might want to check out are Squirrel News, Goodable, or Good News Network. You have the ability to control some of the information you receive on a daily basis.
4.) Practice Self-Care
Headline anxiety and daily stress can play a big toll on your mental and physical health. Practice stress management and daily self-care to keep those feelings in check. Things like getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, getting outside, and taking breaks from all screens can be great ways to help keep you healthy.
5.) Be Mindful
It is so easy to let our thoughts run away with whatever we see in the media. Instead of allowing your thoughts to run wild, bring your attention back to earth and your current surroundings. For example, you might feel anxious, fearful, and unsafe but are you currently in an unsafe situation? Are you sitting at home on your couch? Or at your office at work? What sounds do you hear? What do you smell? How does the fabric of your clothes feel on your skin? Remind yourself that everything is ok right now.
6.) Understand What You Feel is Normal
With easy access to information comes more exposure to the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious, scared, or overwhelmed by the uncertainty and sadness around us. Give yourself some grace but work on being mindful of your exposure to headlines.
We Are Here
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional. At CW Psychological Services, our providers help teach healthy coping tools to manage stress and offer a new perspective when you are struggling with uncertainty.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Counselors and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services are professionally trained. We have openings for online or telehealth therapy appointments. Email us at [email protected] or call (610) 308-7575. We are here for you.