3 Tips For Mindful News Consumption
If your heart is hurting watching the news, you’re human. It’s appropriate to feel sadness and compassion. Whether you’re concerned over COVID19 deaths, humanitarian crises in Myanmar or Afghanistan, or the tremendous loss of life and livelihood in Haiti, you are right to shed tears and prayers.
However, if you are anxiety-ridden or personally depressed over these events, you can implement some changes to mindfully consume news. We are all attacked by an onslaught of news from no shortage of sources. Limiting our consumption can boost our resiliency in the moment.
Choose one, short, news source to consult in the morning.
Find the one source you trust most for reporting accurately and compassionately. Stick with sources that report factually without excessive amounts of emotion. A certain level of humanity and compassion are an integral part of a news report. News sources that rely heavily on individual anecdotes tend to affect our moods the most. Intentional manipulation of your emotions is not something you need to give into in order to be informed.
- Get one email delivered to your inbox with the day’s news headlines
- Listen to one radio broadcast or podcast, about 10 minutes maximum
- Watch one news program limited to 30 minutes that does not include back-and-forth argumentation
Turn off notifications on your phone
Take the news out of your hands, literally. Once you’ve tuned in each morning, reject continual grabs for your attention. All-day news consumption is not necessary to be informed.
Follow your consumption with action
Once you’ve got your news for the day, what are you going to do about it? If you simply consume without acting, you may end up feeling anxious and powerless.
Here are a few options for action steps after news consumption:
- Take direct action. Typically, this means donating to a cause or writing your representative. If you feel compelled to be directly involved, don’t wait on it.
- Meditate. If you don’t feel there is a direct action step you can take, then spend a few minutes returning to yourself before you start your day. If you have a meditation practice, employ it now. If you don’t, take 5 clearing breaths, then spend 3 minutes noticing how your body is feeling.
- Reach out for support. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or burdened by the news, reach out to a friend, family member or therapist. Try to find someone who will compassionately listen without magnifying your anxiety.
- Exercise. By exerting yourself, you will trigger an endorphin rush, clear cortisol from your body, and feel more in control of your day.
We all want a better world. Know that you can be an informed citizen without taking on the weight of the world’s challenges. If you’re struggling with news consumption or dread, a therapist may be a great resource to help you implement coping strategies.
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