News Getting You Down? Why You Should Consider a News Detox for Your Mental Wellbeing.

by Ellie Confrey
coronavirus

A couple of weeks ago when I woke up, my brain was suddenly flooded with an overload of information. ‘Coronavirus has reached Europe and killed more people’, ‘Storms ravaged the UK leaving people homeless‘ and ‘Trump had been acquitted at his impeachment trial‘. 

It’s clear that those headlines are hardly the most welcoming news to begin your day. Yet, it’s so hard not knowing, right? 

I’m definitely a self-confessed news junkie. It’s always been important to me to know what’s going on in the world, so I can be involved in conversations on and offline. I used to believe that knowing about the current state of the world as an indicator of intelligence, but now I’m starting to break down that idea and establish a new perspective. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but the news often leaves me in tears. Usually, I’m so sympathetic to the point that my mind tries to imagine the pain that those involved are feeling. I appreciate my own sense of empathy, but maybe those feelings are a little beyond what is needed before I’m even dressed in the morning. Coming to this realisation, I knew I needed a news detox. Previous attempts of ‘only looking for 10 minutes a day’ left me unaware and 1 hour later in a BBC news hole, I’m greedily absorbing every morsel of the 24-hour news cycle. I needed to go cold turkey.

I decided to create a set of rules for myself. Without structure, I knew I’d fall back into my old ways. Here are the steps I implemented (and you can too) to help:

Delete all news apps on your device

You’re not going to be tempted to look if you don’t have direct access.

Tailor your social feeds

Mute/unfollow any news channels you have on your feed. This may be a difficult one to follow, as friends will probably be sharing news stories themselves. Do your best to not be tempted. 

Morning Routine

Checking the news first thing is part of most routines so why not try to start your day with a book. This will gently wake up your mind rather than being hounded by negativity first thing.

Try not to overthink it

Not knowing can often feel intimidating, yet knowing world events that are out of control aren’t going to significantly improve your life or your relationships. You don’t need extra negativity on top of the negativity your mind is already throwing at you.

One week after I had implemented my plan of action I was beginning to realise how much better I felt. My mood has a tendency to ebb and flow without warning. One day I can feel strong and empowered and the next feel insignificant and worthless. Without doubt, the detox helped with stabilising my mood as I wasn’t having external factors affect it. I wrote in my journal that I was loving the ‘positivity flowing through me’ which I can attest to the lack of negativity racing through my brain. 

Daily, we’re bombarded with hysteria and antagonising information that we have no control over. So why not do something for yourself and experiment with no news in your life. It may seem like a monstrous task to give it up but see what effect it could have. The worst that could happen is your unknowing but a happier person. Sounds pretty good to me.

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1 comment

Alex Hubert February 27, 2020 - 7:18 pm

Hey Ellie,

Very much enjoyed reading your article. I feel very similar when it comes to the news, It did give me a little rush finding out what’s happening. But I also found myself putting myself in other people’s shoes and imagining all the horrible things that were happening in the world happening to me. It really didn’t help my anxiety at all. Since I stopped reading the news (apart from the occasional sports) it has helped quite a bit. Sometimes I think as humans we weren’t really meant to know an expanded view of what is happening in the world – for me it seems shifted negatively, and makes the world seem way more dangerous than it actually is.

Thanks for posting!

All the best, Alex

Reply

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