We all do it — reach for the phone first thing in the morning to check the news. And no wonder, with all that has happened in the world over the past few years. But might this habit be harming our health? Medical News Today assessed the evidence and spoke to experts to find out what we can do to prevent becoming overwhelmed by the news.
How can we build a healthier relationship with the news? Image credit: Jose Azel/Getty Images.
The past few years have seen many global challenges. With political upheavals in many countries, a global pandemic, and armed violence around the world, many of us feel we have to keep abreast of what is happening around us.
And, with 24-hour feeds to our smartphones, laptops, and TVs, it is easy to do so. However, that very ease of access means that avoiding those doom-laden headlines can be hard.
For many people, this is not an issue — they can read the news and move on. However, a recent study from the United States has highlighted that, for some people, an obsession with the news can impact both mental and physical health. “The use of news as a form of emotional regulation, as a form of avoidance from life, the loss of control over how much and in what conditions and for what purposes you seek out the news, and the interference that it has in your life and the ability to rein it in. That looks, to me, very much like many forms of addictive behavior.”
– Dr. Steven C. Hayes, foundation professor of psychology, University of Nevada, Reno
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Choose from BetterHelp’s vast network of therapists for your therapy needs. Take a quiz, get matched, and start getting support via secure phone or video sessions. Plans start at $60 per week + an additional 20% off.” Problematic news consumption The study differentiated between those who consume excessive amounts of news without it causing them any problems and those for whom news consumption was problematic. The researchers defined problematic news consumption as:
being absorbed in news content and constantly worrying about news and stressful events compulsively checking the news experiencing interference in everyday life from their news consumption. Dr. Heather Sequeira, consultant psychologist and chartered member of The British Psychological Society, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today: