By Jordan Beach, LSW – April 14, 2020 –
With the current global health crisis, it seems like we are surrounded by doom-and-gloom information at all times. It’s easy to find negative news everywhere we look – on TV, on social media, and in written news.
More than ever, it is very important for us to be mindful and intentional about the information we consume. Being informed is important, but not more important than your mental health. We are going to discuss some ways to help make your mental health a priority while also being in the know about current events.
Currently some media outlets are heavily focused on the negative things happening around us. The pandemic information is scary, but it’s very compelling. This is the type of news that sucks people in, but it can also have a very negative impact on your mental health.
One thing experts suggest is getting information directly from the source instead of from news outlets seeking increased ratings. For example, with COVID-19, a good place to get information would be from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website.
It is important to have a general understanding of what is going on in the world so you know which guidelines to follow to keep you and your family safe, but it is not necessary to have a constant influx of this information.
Actually, research conducted by Health Psychology suggests that seeing too much negativity can be harmful to your mental health. Being bombarded with negative news can increase your own risk of developing depression and/or anxiety. Research done at the University of California Irvine states that during a time of crisis people who seek repetitive negative news can be affected for up to three years after the event.
Also, be sure that if you are spending time on social media you are not using it as your main source of information about what is going on in the world. Limit your time spent online, especially on social media sites. This is also a good time to clean out the people and businesses you follow on social media. If there are people filling your feed with negativity or outlets posting only doom and gloom news stories, this would be the perfect time to filter your access to them. In exchange, look for some positive accounts to follow. In this time when we’re seeing so much negativity, there are also a lot of people working hard to fill the world with light and positivity.
This is also a good time for you and your family to work together to spread kindness within your own home and neighborhood. Write positive notes to your neighbors with sidewalk chalk and send thank-you notes to essential workers.
There is so much good happening in the world today, but choosing to focus on the negative can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health. For the well-being of you and your family, it is important to be informed but not overstimulated with negativity. Right now it is best to follow guidelines, stay home and do positive things.