Six Quick Tips for Managing “News Anxiety”

In our current political environment, many people are noticing that they are experiencing anxiety or more intense symptoms of anxiety, depression and anger. 

Is there a way to stay connected to current events, while protecting yourself from news overload and continue to practice self care?  

Here are six tips to help you cope with “news anxiety”:

Inform yourself but don’t immerse yourself: Take a few minutes each day to catch up on news, yet don’t allow yourself to go over the allotted time. Pick the method that suits you best. For example, read a blog or news piece instead of watching it on TV if you find the visual images more disturbing. Manage your time spent on social media by setting a daily time limit. At a minimum, remove the notifications from your apps to reduce temptation.

Balance the type of news you are reading: It’s not all doom and gloom in the world! Balance the challenging, scary information with feel-good and optimistic stories. Find a reporter you enjoy that reports more light-hearted pieces and make that your focus.

Keep to a healthy self-care routine: Don’t underestimate the whole-health benefits of scheduled sleeping, balanced eating, exercise and time with friends. Consistent self-care reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and decreases vulnerabilities.

Look for opportunities to take action: You might feel better/less helpless by involving yourself. No action is too big or too small. Join a local group of community activists; volunteer your time for a community service group; make phone calls or write postcards to politicians.

Maintain your sense of optimism: Negative emotions paralyze us and cause inaction and avoidance. Try to maintain a level of positivity by focusing on what you can control. Boost your level of positive emotions by doing activities you enjoy. 

Talk with like-minded people in real time: Get off the discussion threads on technology and find a place to discuss topics in-person – within your family, friend groups, outside interest groups or strangers at the local shops. Be open to others perspectives and create an inviting space to share ideas. Avoid debates with adversaries.

You can manage your reactions to world events by being honest with yourself when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed or stressed. Take the time you need to disconnect, disengage and practice loving-kindness for yourself and those around you. The desired result is that you will feel stronger, clearer and better able to cope.