Our mind plays tricks. Period! Now, what do I mean when I say this? The effect of anything, whether our surroundings or any situation, our mind tends to act like water and moulds itself into whatever external source it is being provided whether an entertainment, a news event, a story, an article, or other external stimuli.
We try to fit ourselves into the stories that are presented to us, and the same is true for news! The heightened sense of uncertainty during this pandemic has made us even more fragile towards exposing ourselves to the news.
Triggers by negative news are often silent, and without awareness, they frequently slip under the radar especially news concerning wars, crimes against humanity or assault. It is crucial to check the impact of such triggers and be aware of them.
As we delve deeper into the relationship between news and triggers, you will gain a better understanding of how to manage and trace the effect of this correlation easily and effectively.
Note: We are no experts, this article is purely based on the author’s personal experience and understanding. This should not be used as a diagnosis or anything other than just an article. If you’re someone silently suffering, find help here!
Okay before we go further, Do you know we have something called the Sympathetic nervous system?
The sympathetic nervous system is a component of the autonomic nervous system, which is also referred to as the involuntary nervous system.
In simple terms, when we are faced by an impending fear, maybe of a project deadline, maybe of an oncoming car, basically when our body perceives any danger in its vicinity, it initiates (read trigger) a physical stress response preparing us to fight or flee the scene.
This ‘fight or flight’ reaction is driven by the sympathetic nervous system, a synchronised network of brain structures, nerves and hormones, which can cause major issues when pushed off balance.
Exposure to news can activate the sympathetic nervous system, causing our body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. So, continuous exposure can result in frequent stress responses which may cause some physical symptoms to appear such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping.
As per a study by the British psychological society, this emotional toll or the negative effect on the psyche was displayed by people who watched negative material, as opposed to those who watched positive or neutral material. People who watched negative news showcased an increase in anxiety and sadness after only 14 minutes of watching television.
The findings were also consistent with theories of worry that implicate negative mood as a causal factor in the facilitation of worrying thoughts.
So how do we balance being up to date with the happenings around the globe while maintaining our mental peace at the same time?
1. Limit your exposure: It’s admirable that you want to stay informed about important issues, such as how our society is evolving and whether the environment is safe for women. Are diplomatic talks between conflicting countries succeeding? Did the person convicted of an inhumane act receive their punishment? As responsible global citizens, we cannot turn a blind eye to issues concerning humanity. We can, however, set a limit on their consumption.
Do not leave your TV on, or stream live news while tending to your daily tasks. Our subconscious mind is always taking notes, and without awareness, it can pick up unnecessary data and trigger a stress response.
Limit your daily news consumption to a set interval and stick to it. This will aid in reducing intake and keeping a lid on our proclivity to fall down the rabbit hole of news sites.
2. Analyse your pattern: After you’ve established a time limit, begin analysing how you feel before and after watching specific news. This will assist you in recognising your trigger points and understanding your pattern. For example, after watching a particular news segment, ask yourself, “Do I feel informed and calm?” Or am I worried and depressed? The goal is to stay informed while remaining calm. However, if you are feeling anxious or depressed, it is best to go off the grid for a while. News of assaults, inhumane acts, and wars can make us anxious and frustrated at the prospect of being unable to assist those in need. Sure, we can start some necessary corrective measures within society, but it requires us to be healthy both mentally and physically. As a result, we must detach for a while in order to get our act together and launch a social movement.
3. Completely avoid news before bedtime: We already have enough stress in our lives; it is best to avoid news before bedtime so that it does not disrupt your sleep cycle. It is critical to have a good night’s sleep in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and brain functioning. It is preferable to stick to a healthy self-care routine during the later hours of the day. Feeding positive thoughts to our subconscious will help us improve our cognitive skills and resilience to the negative effects of news on our psyche.
The times are uncertain, however, a firm grasp on gratitude, healthy living, and self-care will undoubtedly aid us in not only maintaining our mental and physical health, but also in brainstorming ideas that will help make the world a better place to live. So, love yourself and try to shield yourself from all negative influences.
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