Addiction Habits

5 Reasons to Reduce Your Exposure to Negative News & How to Do It

By FocusMe Team on 20 April 2020

It’s important to be aware of local, national, and world events – but at what cost?

How many hours do you give away to staying up-to-date with the news?

What’s the healthy boundary and what are healthy alternatives to news addiction?

Because let’s face it, there are a lot of terrible things going on in this world, but there’s only one YOU and the world needs YOU feeling hopeful.

So let’s take a look at five reasons you might want to minimize your exposure to negative news and what you can do to stay in the know.

Download this article as a PDF

1. The news is skewed toward the negative.

Negative news grabs our attention and captures the imagination. That’s why news outlets offer mostly negative news. It triggers fear in us and we end up being glued to the news.

When our emotions are wrapped up in what we are watching, we usually keep watching to see if there is a resolution. However, there’s really no end to the news. It keeps coming, all day every day.

We need to use discernment about how much negativity you want to flow into your life. Consider the harm that exposure to depressing, violent, dangerous, or sad news can have on your mental and emotional state.

2. It’s temporary and oftentimes sensationalized.

The news is temporary. What’s captivating one day is old news the next. So if you’re riding the wave of one sensational news story after the next – when will it stop? Think about that…

I’m not proposing that you keep your head in the sand, but the news does not sustain you. It’s important, but it likely won’t uphold your life goals. 

Additionally, the news is often presented in a sensational way. A lot of what gets aired ends up being empty of real substance… So not only should we reduce exposure to negative news, but be cautious about which news outlets you listen to.

3. People who watch negative news are more likely to be stressed or anxious.

Studies have been done on people who watch the news. Do you know what was found? Watching the news causes an increase in stress and anxiety.

We are likely to think catastrophically about our lives and the challenges we encounter. It seems that negative news trains the mind to think in a negative way…

For that reason alone, it’s worth considering what role negative news plays in your life.

4. You don’t want to live like a slave to your addictions.

If you feel addicted to watching, hearing, or reading the news, you might be stuck in a habit that controls you. When you do not feel in control of your habits, you can lose a sense of integrity and also perspective.

You might think, “Oh, I have to watch the evening news segment. That’s my routine and I like the news anchor.” Ok that’s fine, but observe your mind… 

Does it feel like a “need” or like you “have to”? Do you feel attached? What would you feel like if you did not consume the news?

Do certain events trigger you to overly consume the news in a way that’s getting out of balance?

5. You want to focus on what matters most.

By reducing exposure to negative news, you’re creating space for what you really want to do with your life.

Listen to this how this Columnist for USA Today, Jeff Stibel, reported on his experience of kicking his news addiction habit:

“Since dropping the habit, I am more focused on things that matter. Conversations seem to have more depth, time seems more available for family and friends, and my understanding of what is really happening in the world has actually increased. This past weekend, while everyone else was fixated on the latest news eruption from Washington, I spent my time painting with my daughter. It may be ironic that a columnist gave up the news, but who better than someone steeped in the stew to show that there are more fulfilling meals.” 

You get to decide how you spend your time – not the news stations and not your addictions!

Stay informed, but balanced…

Here are four ways you can keep a healthy relationship with the news:

  • Select your news sources wisely. 

Look for outlets that are not sensational and that also broadcast positive news stories.

  • Subscribe to a monthly publication.

You can keep up-to-date with monthly publications that cover the bigger highlights of what’s happening in our world.

  • Ask (or let) friends and family keep you up-to-date on the essential news you need to know.

Most likely you are surrounded by people who will share important news with you without even asking. But if not, you can request someone in your life to let you know important news.

  • Set up a website-blocking app to block your access to addictive news sites for certain periods of the day.

This is a simple way to manage your news consumption. Do you want to check just one news outlet once in the morning? FocusMe supports you to do just that. You can create a “plan” that’s completely customizable, that blocks you from all news sites except the one you want to view when you want to view it.

Your emotional health matters. Your mental health is vital. The world is going to carry on in its own way, but what about your life. How do you want to spend your time? What impact do you want to make?

Take care of yourself. And if the news has got you down – tune it out. Take charge, it’s actually quite easy!

Download this article as a PDF