This Is What Obsessing Over The News Does To Your Health

is reading news bad for you

Unsplash/Stefan Vladimirov

When it comes to watching or reading the news, people’s habits vary dramatically. But with our 24-hour news cycle and increasingly contentious global society, it’s very easy to get sucked into the black hole that is obsessing over what’s happening in the world. And when you fall into this pit of news-driven despair, things can get ugly … and fast.

We’re not just talking about being in a bad mood or coming off as seriously cynical and jaded to your family, friends and coworkers. There are legitimate downsides for your health that come along with over-consuming too much negative news.

Your Mental Health

In a 2018 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, more than half of the participants admitted that news exposure causes them stress, and many reported feeling anxious or exhausted as a result. The methods by which we receive news — not always the news itself — are partially to blame for these stress reactions. Push notifications that send us scrolling through more and more visually shocking information pop up constantly on our smartphones. And when we aren’t reading highly polarizing content, we’re watching it in video form or listening to upsetting audio clips. If you spend enough of your precious time each day engaging with this content, it’s no wonder that you feel anxious and on edge.

It can be tough to fend off feelings of guilt when you avoid news about others on this planet who are suffering far more than you are, but for the sake of your own sanity, it’s necessary. You can’t be helpful if you’re stuck in a perpetual state of overwhelm and powerlessness. Not to mention, constantly exposing yourself to trauma takes a toll on your physical health, too.

is reading news bad for you
Unsplash/Joshua Rawson Harris

Your Physical Health

Guess what? All of those mental health struggles you experience from overdoing it with your news consumption can lead to physical health problems, as well. When you face chronic stress, your cortisol and adrenaline levels are perpetually high. And those out-of-whack stress hormones can lead to all sorts of issues, from inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis to cardiovascular disease and other serious health concerns.

What’s more, when your body finally can’t take these elevated stress hormone levels anymore, you can fall into a state of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can lead to more than just feeling groggy in the morning — it can inspire major sleep problems like insomnia. Chronic stress can also lead to issues like persistent and severe headaches, muscle tension and stomach pains.

Striking A Balance

If you think your news exposure is causing you any of the aforementioned health issues, it’s time to tune into your sense of self-awareness and address the problem directly. In addition to honestly asking yourself if you really need to recheck your news feeds on the half hour throughout the entire day, every day, question the modes through which you receive your news. If the way you’re interacting with it is the problem — watching too many triggering videos and choosing too many overly polarizing sources — make some adjustments to those details and see if you can find a better balance.

After all, the goal is to stay informed — not drive yourself insane or make yourself physically ill, right?

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