CARERS LOFT

Stress Relief and Self Care Tools And Resources For Carers and Caregivers Of Loved Ones

How Is The News Bad For You?


There is one thought I’d like you to consider very seriously. How is the news bad for you? I think many people would see it as an important part of life and would disagree with someone saying that the news might not necessarily be good for you. I want to tell you why I stopped watching the news and why I think it would be beneficial for you to either stop watching it or reduce your exposure to it. I realised a long time ago that the news can be detrimental to you, especially in large doses, and made a conscious decision to avoid watching or reading about the news as best as I could. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I am oblivious to what is going on in the world, because believe me, I always hear about it one way or another, but I prefer to limit my time of having it glaring in my face, because trust me, even when you try not to see the news, it literally can’t be avoided completely, especially when so many people are talking about it day in, day out. Perhaps if I went and lived in a cave with no access to any other form of communication I might stand a chance of keeping my life news-free, well at least bad news free, but being a Carer, well, that just isn’t a possibility. Plus I do enjoy people and being connected with them, so I can’t see myself ever living in a cave.

 

The News! It’s Everywhere And It’s Nearly Always Bad!

 

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Imagine this is a wall of TV screens playing the news for each country, all day long, all night long, and only ever reiterated the negative stories! Wait a minute, this may not be imagination!

 

For many people their start to the day is not complete unless they read a newspaper, or turn on the TV or radio to watch or listen to the news. They go about their daily business and hear the news all day long, every hour on the hour, in their cars or other transport, they overhear people talking about it constantly, they see it on their social media, and then on their way home, it’s on again. As they arrive home and sit down for their dinner, there it is, staring everyone in the face because it just has to be aired during prime time television where they can attract the most viewers. Some channels are devoted purely to release breaking news all day and on occasions, more often than I’d like to think about, people get glued to the TV to watch as a terrifying event unfolds and then to watch the aftermath, over and over and over again. Can you relate to this?

 

Is The News A Lifeline For You?

 

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If news is your lifeline, just be careful how much you take on board.

If you are a person who absolutely can’t get through the day without keeping informed of what is going on around them, and I realise this may well be the case for some people, then this article probably won’t make a lot of sense to you. I understand that being aware of the world acts like a form of grounding and helps to keep you feeling connected with other people. There is nothing wrong with this.

If this is you, do not be concerned as long as you are able to disconnect from the emotions that watching or listening to the news can evoke. My fear is that some of you may get so caught up in needing to know what is happening around you, that it may affect your mental state, especially if you are unable to separate the bad news from the rest of the good news around you. Which leads me to my next point.

 

The News Can Lead To Depression And Anxiety And More!

 

If you are an empathetic person like me, and my daughter is as well, watching the news can lead to major depression and anxiety, hence why I believe it is such a negative influence on you. This is why neither of us go out of our way to watch the news and often turn away from a TV, radio or even a Facebook story if it has a news story with an unpleasant or alarming headline. It’s not like there is an escape anywhere from bad news, it’s everywhere, on air and in the air in the form of constant chatter. If it’s distressing news, then it gets the attention of everyone as people always seem to be drawn to events that make them uneasy, or shocked, or outraged. When the news is not good, the news channels and other media go to great lengths to show footage and images of death, disaster and destruction, and not just once, the updates are often continuous and they show the worst or most tragic scenes, over and over again.

 

Man Made And Natural Disasters Alike Affect Us To Our Very Core!

 

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Out of respect for the victims and their families, I do not wish to put a large image of this terrible event on this page to have the families relive it all over again. This is deliberately a small image.

Take for example the September 11th, 2001, Twin Towers attack in New York where nearly 3000 people lost their lives. The shock of not only the high-jacked planes and the building being attacked was dreadful enough, but then the ultimate collapse of the buildings and even more people perishing was like a nightmare and was awful to just view on TV, let alone how it made me feel thinking about all of those poor people.

Then what about any of the recent devastating cyclones, landslides, earthquakes and floods around the world to name just a couple of examples? When natural disasters occur you can guarantee there is worldwide coverage on many different channels showing the path of destruction and the death toll that continues to rise. Sometimes they even exaggerate the death toll and you come back later to find that the number has reduced dramatically from what the initial claims were, which is fantastic however, the original number left you reeling from sadness, shock and horror and those feelings are hard to dismiss.

 

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Poor dog. Looks so sad!

How many of you, like myself during the Twin Towers torturous event, kept the TV on all day and night during any or all of these occurrences to receive the ongoing updates? Yes, I admit that I got drawn in too and it’s probably one of the reasons I choose not to watch the news now.

Now ask yourself how did it make you feel? Anxious, shocked, sick for the victims and their families, on edge, angry, upset, saddened, fearful that this could have happened to you, or still could? Did you feel like a lost puppy, sinking down to the floor wondering what kind of world have I been born into? Was your face frozen in a gasp with your hands drawn up to your mouth refusing to let go and stayed that way for hours? And then did you find yourself crying for all of the people going through this event in reality, for the pain they must have endured, the terror knowing that they wouldn’t make it, for the families that will never get over their losses? Did you wonder if you could ever smile or laugh again? That’s an example of how bad news affects me but I’d hazard a guess that many of you also felt some, if not all, of these emotions. I hope that you can withdraw better than I can, otherwise maybe you could take a leaf out of my book and simply not watch the news.

 

We Live In Hope Of A Happy Ending, Somewhere!

 

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One of those rescues we cling to. Thank goodness for our emergency services!

These are but two examples of both man-made horror and the horror of natural disasters each of which can lead to anxiety, depression, hopelessness, loneliness, fear, defeat and powerlessness. I can’t even begin to count how many times I saw the footage for these catastrophes and not just on one channel, it was across many.

I haven’t even started on all of the recent school shootings or other terrorist attacks around the globe because that would just depress me even more. Yes, I do know of these events even though I don’t watch the news. Like I said, I will always hear about it, it seems the news always finds me anyway.

All of these news updates breed negative thoughts and emotions with only a smattering of relief now and again to hear the very occasional survival or lucky escape story. We watch all day, sometimes for a number of days, just waiting to hear that someone survived so we can feel good again. We love a good hero story or to learn about an heroic rescue and that can help take the taint away when the occasional one slips onto the news for the briefest of time. But those feelings are short lived amongst the rest of the footage which they make sure we see over and over. I found myself watching to see if there was any new footage a lot of the time, but there wasn’t much, just the same scenes on replay, etching themselves into my mind and my brain so that I would dream of them as well.

 

How Much Is Too Much?

 

I would deign to say that if I have to dream about the news, then I’ve seen far too much and personally wished I had seen only about 5% of the story. So it’s better to only watch 5% of the news then. I’m not suggesting you disrespect the lives lost or the losses these people have suffered, rather I’m putting it to you to minimise your exposure to it. Is it right that we should be forced to bear witness to tragedy ninety-five percent of the time and have very little acknowledgment of the good things in life to counteract these terrible events?

That is what the news is all about these days, in fact that is all it has ever been about. Scare mongering, shock tactics and gasp-worthy stories to keep you trapped in your seat and your mind, if you are not careful to filter it somewhat, and all for the sake of ratings. Do we have a choice in what we watch? Yes! It’s simple. To avoid these tactics and associated feelings, don’t watch the news. If that means turning off the TV, radio and social media at certain times of the day, then so be it.

 

Coming back to why we sit there and watch is because it is not easy to walk away from the suffering of people and so you stay stuck there, soaking up all of the negative vibes that are arising from it. It invades your entire body and mind so that you can’t think straight. The thought that the world can contain such awful people, who could take the life of, or cause harm to another human being or many, or the dread that Nature could turn against you at any time replays on repeat in your head and you start to doubt that there is any good in the world.

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Wait a minute, here’s a cute kitty story to make you feel better. Or not!

When do they tell the heart-warming stories? There may be one at the end of the news, often a cute cat story or something similar, while you are still reeling in shock at what a terrible world we live in but in all reality, who can really take any of this in?

They could at least give a fifty percent representation of the good and the bad. I don’t count sports or weather news in this figure, just the key stories. If you are lucky they might throw in a small feel good story at the end or part way through, but is it enough to help you forget the other terrors you have just seen?

In light of this, it happens to be the kind of thing that can lead to long term depression without you even realising it, or at the very least leave you feeling lethargic, with no motivation. Many of you may not even recognise that you feel the way you do because of the depressing nature of the news. It can sometimes take a very long time to get past it, especially if you see the next new tragedy and the next, day after day. Your moods are flat, your body is flat and your brain is flat. If the news affects you this way, and I can tell you it certainly does me, turn it off. Please! It is for your own good and sanity. You will hear from someone, somewhere if there is anything you need to know.

Friends, Facebook, newspapers, the radio, are all full of such information and you can get your news every hour if you are desperate to find the truth of something or find out what’s been happening in the world. But do yourself a favour and read no more than the first paragraph that gives you the nuts and bolts of the information and spares you much of the horror. You don’t need to stick your head in the sand, just be mindful of how much you let yourself get drawn in.

 

Can You Even Believe Half Of The News You Read About?

 

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Believe it or not. Fake news is plentiful and very hard to tell apart from the genuine news

Then there is all the matter of the high amount of fake news on the internet and other social media. I don’t know how many times I have seen a headline that caught my attention, only to go to the article and find absolutely nothing in the story, if you can even call it a story, that is remotely related to the headline.

There are a lot of hoaxes that get people all riled up and it’s so easy to do. With today’s technological advances, such as Photoshop, or similar programs, it can be so easy to drum up fake news and get everyone jumping up and down in indignation about something that may not even be true, yet because it’s ‘news’ and looks like real news, it has many people falling for it. Again, much of this can create dissension among the population, and is even deliberate.

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Cannabis buds. Will they ever get it right?

Then there appears to be a lot of misinformation doing the rounds as well, mostly in the health and wellness industries. So this brings me to another reason why it can get depressing. An example of this is the debate on the legalisation of cannabis and whether or not it is good for you and if there are so many health benefits, why has the information been quashed? There are even some people advertising and selling fake cannabis oil to those people who really need it and have pounced on the latest news to attempt to swindle and cheat people out of their money rather than for any real concern for a person’s well being. This upsets me to hear that news of this kind, which could bring great relief to many people, has also been tainted by those who would wish to deceive.

Why produce fake articles then? If these news articles were actually real, it would lead me to conclude the world is a bad place and therefore I wouldn’t want to watch any news anyway because it would remind me of that. Whereas on the other hand, if they are fake, then I would most likely conclude that people are bad if they will go to such lengths to fabricate a horrible story, and again would prefer to distance myself from that kind of news. Either way the news, true or false, does not win any brownie points with me. So how is the news bad for you? I don’t need to ask myself this question, because I know my own answers, but maybe you can ask yourself how is the news bad for you, and if you have any answers similar to my own, then you could look at taking action by minimising what you allow yourself to watch.

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My daughter would prefer to block her ears than hear anything about something bad that has happened, and I don’t blame her.

If you are not the one affected but often wonder why your dependent person is moody or depressed, then perhaps consider paying some attention to when it happens just to see if it is at all related to them watching or hearing the news.

For myself as a Carer, I am happy to continue not watching or reading the news and I take care not to pass on what I do hear to my daughter, who is affected more than me, unless it really is something she specifically needs to know. She still hears about things, but to a lesser degree than if I were to discuss it with her. I used to talk with her about some occurrences, but she really did not take it well and so we agree not to talk about it.

Thank you for reading and I hope that this can help you to better understand how you can help your own household become more award of how something as simple as the news can cause such a drastic effect on the entire mood of your home. But you can change this by changing what you do. Sometimes you may need to look into clearing the energy of your house to help people overcome any buildup of emotions before you see any progress. I plan to write more on this topic soon.

Warm Wishes

Ange

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