It’s not groundbreaking to acknowledge that the current reality of our 24-hour news cycle is downright overwhelming for many of us. It just might be groundbreaking, however, to realize that we don’t have to just brace ourselves and take it.
I get it. It can feel like if you look away for a moment, you’ll miss some crucial piece of information that could be the key to unlocking all the political chaos that’s been spilling out over the airwaves the past few years.
It really is tempting to stay connected to the ever-evolving storylines.
That said, how are your physical, mental, and emotional states faring when you are tethered to the news? Do you notice yourself feeling tense or angry — not just while the news is on, but throughout the day as you’re thinking about it? If the news is compromising your sense of wellness and inner peace (as it is for many!), it may be time to look at a new way forward.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to give up knowing what’s going on in the world. You may simply need a backup plan for how to find a balance between caring for yourself and staying informed.
Mindfulness can help. Here are some ideas:
Switch it up.
How do you typically get your news? TV? Internet articles? Radio? Podcast? Social media streams? When you notice yourself getting stressed out by the news, one thing you can try is switching the form and frequency of your consumption. For example, if you watch news programs every evening, try skipping that for a week and only getting your news from the radio for an hour in the morning, or an hour-long afternoon review of your most-liked online news publications. Then the next week, try another news source and time of day.
Breaking the pattern of news consumption that causes you stress by consciously choosing the “where and when” of your news cycle can be empowering.
Take a technology break.
This might feel like a big challenge, but it really can do wonders for your well-being. Make it fun! Plan out a day or two (or an evening or two) that is completely free of smartphones, computers, and tablets. This would be a great opportunity to check your joy list and see what activities could work well for the time you set aside.
Take positive action.
When the news brings you down, you can take specific action to lift your spirits. One of the best ways to do this is to volunteer for or donate to a cause you believe in. I have personally given money to Together Rising to provide emergency relief to children detained in atrocious conditions across this country and to fund long-term legal accountability to end this disaster.
I also donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center and to the Anti-Defamation League to combat hate. I give to a couple of strong gun control organizations, as well, and chief among them are Everytown for Gun Safety and Fred Guttenberg’s charity for gun safety in memory of his daughter, Jaime, who was one of the precious kids murdered in the Parkland High School shooting in Florida.
How can we exercise control over our state of mind? We do what we can to help where we can.
We can be kind to ourselves. We can be kind to one another.