The news should be renamed the bad news because that’s all it is these days. It’s hard to protect your mental health and stay informed. It’s no wonder the British Journal of Psychology found that watching the news regularly causes people to see life through a negative lens. And though the effects of bad news is felt globally, the Black community might feel it the worst. Scientific American reported on several studies that found that, following news about racially-charged events, Black Americans suffer particularly bad mental health days.
There’s no denying that the news doesn’t make anybody feel good. Still, you can feel an obligation to keep up with what’s going on. So how do you protect your mind and emotions while staying informed? Here are a few ways to protect your mental health while the news is dark.
Create Time Limits
Pew Research Center reports that some Americans watch 72 minutes of news per day. But, you can learn all you need to know in a half-hour or less. Limit how much time you allow yourself to watch the news. You can get the broad strokes and the need-to-know updates in a half hour. Anything beyond that and you’re just doom scrolling, diving deeper into the depressing details.
Read The News
Watching the news can mean witnessing images that are disturbing. You can’t fully control what comes through the screen and you could get more information than you needed – or wanted. Instead, subscribe to a newsletter that will just give you the highlights. These help you stay informed without being weighed down with depressing details. MADAMENOIRE and NEWS ONE offer great daily newsletters that expresses news from a Black perspective and just offers the broad strokes.
Create Social Media Filters
There are legitimate news outlets, and then there are the millions of people on social media who are self-appointed news anchors. If you don’t want to see everyone’s thoughts and opinions on any given news story, create social media filters. On both Instagram and Facebook, you can mute profiles that discuss politics too much (on Facebook it’s called “Snoozing” them). They won’t know you muted them, but they won’t show up in your feed anymore.
Set Boundaries With Friends
Your friends mean well, but maybe they talk about the news too much. It’s perfectly okay to say, “Is it okay if we don’t talk about the news anymore? It’s depressing me.” They will likely understand and have probably been there themselves. Good friends want to help you protect your mental health.
Create Balance Through Self-Care
Even when you create limitations on how much news you consume and what you consume, your mental health can still take a hit. The news is just that bad sometimes. Make sure you’re creating time for self-care activities that boost your moods. You need this to counteract the negative effects of the news. This could involve taking a bath, listening to a funny podcast, reading an uplifting book, meditating or playing with a pet. Be sure to do something that gets those feel-good hormones and brain chemicals pumping.
Subscribe To Good News Outlets
Another way to create balance is to subscribe to good-news-only outlets. The mainstream news sources only show bad news, making it seem like only bad things are happening. But good things are happening, too. Both MN and NEWS ONE have good news verticals that highlight good news exclusively. There’s also HELLO BEAUTIFUL and CASSIUS that curate positive, uplifting news stories.
Do Good Where You Can
One reason the news can be so upsetting is that it leaves us feeling helpless. We witness horrors in the world that we can’t do anything about. But, perhaps that can be an impetus for doing good where you can. Within your network, your neighborhood and your community, you can do good. You can help someone in need or share kind words with someone who is feeling down. Doing your part, in your corner of the world, can help you feel better.