For many people, watching the news is part of their daily routine. Whether they tune in religiously to the 6 o’clock report or simply have it on in the background while they’re doing household tasks, the news is a constant presence in their lives.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing—after all, watching the news on TV is how many people find out what’s going on in the world—too much of it can have negative effects on your health. Especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the news has tended to skew overwhelmingly negative, painting a despairing picture of our country and its future. As a result, many news watchers have seen their mental well-being suffer without even realizing it.
The Effect of News on Your Nervous System and Mental Health
Much of the news reporting in recent years has taken an alarmist approach, creating dire forecasts about the state of the world. Taking in this information daily, even if it’s only in the background, can be a highly stressful situation. When we hear negative news, our brain takes on a fight, flight, or freeze response, sending the body and nervous system into high alert. This causes the body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping.
How to Manage Your News Watching
Watching the news in small doses remains a good way to find out what’s going on in the world. However, many people tune in far more often than they realize. It’s easy to make news watching a habit and it can be a difficult one to break. Still, to maintain good mental health, it is important to manage your intake.
The first step in breaking the habit is realizing that you’re watching too much news and decide to do something about it. One good strategy for managing your news intake is to set a definitive time limit for how much you watch each day. 30 minutes is a recommended daily limit, though, it’s okay to start at a higher number and then work your way down.
Here are a few other tips to protect your mental well-being while still staying informed:
- Schedule a specific time in the day when you allow yourself to worry.
- Don’t watch the news for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Take in your news from reliable outlets, not ones that aim to stoke fear.
- Discuss the news with trusted friends and family.
- Limit other stressors in your life.
If you find that you’re unable to control your news intake or that you’re constantly having persistent negative thoughts, ketamine treatment can be a safe and effective way of managing your situation. Contact Ketamine Greater Boston to get started, or visit our website to learn more.