How can you limit news consumption and stay informed at the same time? When we live in a world of uncertainty, that gathering information is one way to regain control. But, overconsuming information (especially if it’s bad news) can take a toll on your mental health.
We are so compelled to read the news right now at the time COVID-19 outbreak and at any time when we have a big thing happening in the world.
“As humans, we need information to protect ourselves, “Think of it like exercise. It’s good for you, right? But if you do it for hours on end, it becomes unhealthy.”
How much news is too much?
We feel compelled to read the news even if it’s negative and we don’t stop there, we continue researching and reading more about it. Although staying informed matters but when you are reading or watching the news for two-four hours a day it becomes maladaptive, what started being beneficial is being harmful now, like exercise. You are already stressed over the news and you are looking for more information, but that will create even more stress creating a vicious cycle that you must break.
“Keeping your media use in check helps to keep your stress in check.”
How can you limit news intake and stay informed? You have to be in control and restrict screen time for yourself as you would for a child. There is no right amount of time spent watching the news. There is no secret recipe, suggestions. One hour is generally a reasonable average for most of us but it’s not reasonable for one sitting. To help you break bad news consumption there are two different techniques that you can use. One technique focused on time and the other one related to a source of news.
Every time you sit down to watch the news, limit your one sitting on 20 minutes (three times a day) or 15 minutes (four times a day). As Nerurkar said, parenting yourself is important, and once you hit that 15- or 20-minutes mark, it needs to be a hard stop. Self-control is the main virtue here.
When it comes to the source, choose platforms that you want to read and stick with reliable sources. You do need to get information from varied sources but make sure that you know if the source that you are reading or watching is reliable.
How to Limit Your News Consumption
Additionally, remove your phone from your nightstand. Instead of spending your time reading news from your phone, relax and stretch, and in the morning don’t grab your phone and scroll through social media or news, take a shower, and have breakfast first before you lost yourself in the world of bad news. That’s not the right way to start your day. Also, remove your phone from your workspace. Our phone can distract us from doing important things that we should focus on and if possible we should keep the phone away or limit our notifications.
Find a time when you are reading or watching the news. Choose afternoon hours, instead of morning and bedtime hours. It’s important to have enough time after reading news to relax and rewind. After reading news, exercise yoga, or read a book. Do something different.
Reading news and staying informed is very important but reading too much of it in stressful times can affect your mental and physical health. Be in control and stay safe.