Are You Addicted to Negative News?

By Alexandra Lily Swanston

The media we consume daily has an impact on our thinking, behavior and emotions. Given the sensational nature of the 24-hour news cycle, most media outlets end up reporting on crises,  disasters or other stories that are likely to shock and draw in readers and viewers. Our brain responds to this stressful or negative news as a threat and our sympathetic nervous system kicks into fight or flight mode, producing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Recurrent exposure to this stress can impact both our physical and mental health and cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Negative news can also affect mood and lead to feelings of hopelessness, anger and fear. These bleak stories can also exacerbate worries about our own personal lives even if they aren’t directly related to the content of the news story.

The rest of your physical health is also affected by constant news watching, as more hours in front of the TV typically means you are more often inside or cooped up. Studies have shown that people who spend more than 4 hours watching television are at a higher risk of depression. By sitting and watching, you are also getting less physical activity. It is a vicious cycle and only further emphasizes the need to take a break from the news to preserve your mental and physical health. While staying informed on public health guidelines is crucial for your safety, moderation is key. Here are our tips for limiting your news intake and managing headline stress.


2 Responses to "Are You Addicted to Negative News?"

Scott Stuller says:

August 3, 2021 at 04:28 am

Great article for times like these. Thank you

Laura Barnett says:

July 25, 2021 at 04:28 am

This is really interesting, good food for thought. Thank you!