Nowadays, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with the troubling or upsetting stories from around the globe that come our way online. It’s human nature to be compassionate about these things, but with constant news it can be hard not to feel swamped in despair, or the feeling of being powerless. In this blog, we discuss how you can remain informed, while taking care of yourself and your mindset as you encounter upsetting stories in the media.
An important aspect of taking care of oneself when consuming news and navigating the digital world, is to keep your passions and spirits high. Here are some ways to stay motivated and uplifted when confronted with difficult news:
- Staying active with the causes you care about can be a source of comfort, even if those causes are grim and difficult.
- Contribute how you can, when you can. You cannot solve all of the world’s problems in a single day, but you can help solve problems. Use your voice to speak on what’s right, to raise awareness, to raise funds. March in protests or partake in charity walks. You can keep your passions close to heart and use your creativity to speak on the humanity of the world. It’s easy to be daunted by the vastness of the issues that the world faces, but always remember that you possess great strengths AND the ability to have a lasting effect on others and your community at large.
- Celebrate the good! Oftentimes, it can feel like the only news you see is the bad kind. It’s important to remember that while bad things are happening, good things are too! Seek out stories of human resilience, compassion, and community.
MANAGING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
We’ve all fallen prey to the horrors of doomscrolling (i.e. the tendency to continue scrolling through bad news, even when it’s upsetting you). It can be hard to step away from the computer or our phone when you feel yourself spiraling down the hole of 24/7 news. But sometimes we forget that WE can be in charge of the content we see online. Here are some tips to avoid doomscrolling on social media:
- Follow only the accounts that you think are important. It’s okay to un-follow an account that’s causing you anxiety or distress, even if you end up coming back to it eventually. Taking a break from certain news sources can help you re-engage with the internet in a healthier way.
- Analyze the media you consume, and ask yourself: “Is this worth my time?” and “Is this exploitative?”
- Ask yourself if what you’re looking at really needs your immediate attention. The internet is forever. You can always come back to an article or a video when you’re feeling ready to engage.
- iPhones and Androids have settings to limit screen time on individual apps! Figure out how much time you spend scrolling your feeds, and consider limiting your time to prevent overexposure.
- Be mindful and specific when you look for news or topics. Actively search for updates, rather than passively scrolling through your timeline looking for updates.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, when it comes to keeping a healthy outlook on social media and the news, it’s important to remember that painful news and divided discourse spread much faster and easier than good news. When your feeds are swamped with tragedy, hateful opinions, or sharp-edged discussion, that is largely by design. Countless dollars of research have gone into keeping people engaged with news media, and the current trend of 24/7 tragedy is intended to keep you hooked, unable to put your phone down and needing to get the next update. Now is as good of a time as any to trim down what you consume on social media. It is very possible to stay informed these days without having to watch your feed every minute. You don’t need to know every minute detail of every incoming story. Doomscrolling is a real phenomenon, and when you feel like you’re trapped in a spiral of media consumption, it can be hard to break that spiral — but not impossible.