Are you a self-proclaimed news junkie? Do you spend hours scrolling through your Twitter and Instagram feeds to consume the latest political, health, or environmental news? Understanding current events and what’s happening around the world keeps us informed and helps us to understand what might affect our lives. But when does news consumption become harmful to our mental health and productivity?
I’m a firm believer that watching too much news is detrimental to your mental health. Sure, I watch the morning local news and I’m also a big fan of the Today Show. I like to catch up on the news see what’s going on in the city I’m in that week, weather, traffic, etc. but I choose more lighthearted news shows and less politically driven ones. I have many friends who are chained to the TV and social media all day long, bashing the president or ex-president and posting about the news or politics on Facebook. That left me wondering, how much news is enough news?
Negative news stories increase personal worry and scarcity thoughts. It’s a fact. It’s happened to all of us during the elections and shutdowns. I mean, did you not see Carol on the Real Housewives of NYC during the election? She was a total basket case! We’re inundated with negative news stories daily. Conflicts, natural disasters, and other upsetting events are routinely pushed to our news feeds on social media, in newspapers, and directly to our cell phones. These stories make us feel anxious and scared (for me I get anxiety like crazy). I mean, think about it, we were all flipped out about having enough toilet paper last year.
Partisan news stories and discussions cause stress and frustration online and often social media fights. We’ve all seen it! I love commenting “I’m here for the comments”. But this type of behavior is not great for our mental well-being at all. Repeated negative news stories make us feel unsafe. How many times did we see news on the riots? How safe did you feel? I remember being at the Chateau Marmont during the 2020 LA riots (my worst birthday ever) and feeling so anxiety-ridden, watching people boarding up their houses and driving around rodeo drive looking at military trucks and graffiti. It wasn’t a great feeling. Thankfully the staff and wine at Chateau helped.
Excessive consumption of news destroys our productivity. Hence the title of this blog. For all you News Junkies, take a look at your screen time and TV time and think about what else you could do with that time. I know for a fact I’ve gotten so fired up after watching the news that I have no energy to even leave my house, is this you? The average American spends a staggering 11 hours, 54 minutes each day connected to some form of media — TV, smartphones, radio, games — although that number is bloated because some of the usage is simultaneous, that’s increased nearly an hour and a half in the last year. Now that is A LOT OF TIME ON THE NEWS!!!!
Next time you find yourself getting fired up on Facebook, IG, or Twitter be sure to take a breath and maybe get outside. I find when I go for a walk in the morning and skip the extra news my days are better. Try it!