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How Can Trauma in the News Affect My Mental State?

In the age of 24/7 news media, it can be hard to tune out events going on in the world. Between doctors’ offices, gyms, and even schools, it seems like the news is always on. When you experience trauma in the news, it can have a negative effect on your mental state and even your nervous system. Sometimes, simply turning off the news is the best choice you can make.

Hardwired for Trauma and Danger

Traumatic stories like gruesome murders, kidnappings, and mass shootings seem to be a regular occurrence on the news. In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought its fair share of trauma to general news media.

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the “impulse to consume negative news can be difficult to resist.” If you’re wired to always be on the lookout for danger, you may fall into patterns of negative news scrolling – also called doom scrolling – because you think it keeps you more prepared for inevitable doom.

Mental Health and Trauma in the News

The CMAJ says that the negative spiral of news scrolling “can take a toll on mental health.” It points to studies that have linked negative news consumption to “increased distress, anxiety and depression, even when the news in question is relatively mundane.” Exposure to bad news, including trauma, can be even worse.

A 2022 study in JMIR Mental Health states that the everyday news consumer may display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after watching coverage of traumatic events. The study notes that news coverage of mass trauma events, like natural disasters or terrorist attacks, can predict symptoms of anxiety and depression as well.

Turning Off Trauma in the News

Constant news consumption is a habitual activity. The best way to break negative habits is to create healthy, new habits in their place.

Firstly, you may want to start limiting your news exposure. You can dedicate a specific time each day to watching the news. This can help break endless scrolling patterns.

Secondly, mindfulness and meditation are wonderful tools that can help you detach from the 24/7 news cycle. This distance can reduce anxiety and bring you back to the present moment. Being fully present can help you break the constant focus of traumatic stories in the news.

Choose Optimism and Joy

Activities that promote optimism and joy can help you distance yourself from the news. According to the CMAJ, “some researchers contend that boosting optimism may help people cope better with bad news without unplugging entirely.”

Certain psychological interventions assist in this process. Gratitude journaling and self-development can increase optimism. A little more optimism and joy in your day can go a long way along the journey of living your best life.

Trauma stories in the news can have a negative impact on your overall mental health. With the ongoing 24/7 news cycle, it may seem hard to turn off the news completely, but it’s not impossible. At The Guest House, we aim to help our clients find more joy and optimism in every area of their life. Our therapeutic modalities and holistic programs include activities like yoga and meditation. These help you find peace and solace in the present moment without the need for constant news intake. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 for help.