Today we’re going to look at two articles about the effect the media has on our mental and emotional health – one about reading the news, and one about social media.
First, from verywellmind.com:
Is watching the news bad for mental health?
May 18, 2020
“The media we consume daily has an impact on our thinking, behavior, and emotions. If you’ve fallen into a pattern of regularly watching or listening to the news, the majority of what you’re consuming is likely about the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.”
“And while staying up to date on local and national news, especially as it relates to mandates and health updates, is critical during this time, experts say over-consumption of the news can take a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental health.”
“With that in mind, the goal is to find the balance between feeling informed and educated on the situation at hand while not becoming totally overwhelmed by it.”
A pandemic is already very bad for most people’s mental health, and following the news often makes this worse: The problem is that “because sensational headlines get more attention….media outlets often end up focusing on disaster reporting—and rarely any positive news. “
“Consuming too much of this kind of news, whether actively or passively, can be very toxic, and what you hear has an impact on your mood….Some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping.”
Tips for Managing the News:
“the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends seeking news about COVID-19 mainly so that you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and your loved ones. Once you have that information, it’s time to turn the news off.”
“Leaving your television on or streaming live news broadcasts on your phone … can take a toll on you emotionally. Rather than having the news be your background noise [try limiting yourself to] less than 30 minutes per day total of social media scrolling and news exposure combined.”
“Scheduling a “worry time” each day: Scroll through the news, acknowledge anything you are worried about, and make plans for addressing any issues,” she says. Then, choose a time (not just before bed!) to worry: “after your worry time is over, put the news (and your worry) aside and move onto other things.”
“Gauge How You Feel Before Watching – Do you feel informed and calm, or panicked, angry, and/or pessimistic? If it’s the latter consider how much news you’re consuming.
“Watch Reliable News Outlets: rely on outlets you know are credible, have experienced reporters who do their research, and provide balanced perspectives.”
Have a set time for the news: “You probably have set times every day when you eat, and you can do the same with news. Check-in with what’s going on in the world, then move on to something else.”
“Get a News Summary From Close Friends or Family”
Subscribe to a Newsletter or Podcast…..teehee….”you can listen to a podcast while you exercise, which can help keep your anxiety and worry levels low.”
“Do Something Healthy After Watching the News…like taking a walk, calling a friend, or working on a hobby.”
Social Media and Mental Health: Time for a Digital Detox?
“Why social media is bad for mental health, and what can be done to reduce usage”
Feb 17, 2020
“The early months of the year are traditionally a time for abstinence, introspection, and renewal. This is witnessed in old-time traditions such as New Year’s Resolutions and fasting for Lent. It is also seen in emerging traditions, such as Dry January or Veganuary.“
“Another emerging tradition has become known as a digital detox. This refers to self-initiated periods of abstinence from using digital devices, especially…social media. This practice is a response to growing concerns about the over-usage of social media and digital devices.”
“A growing number of studies examine the link between social media usage and mental health. These point to one clear conclusion: Low levels of social media usage are associated with better mental health.”
“All this suggests that over-usage of social media can be bad for mental health.”
The Passive Use of Social Media– scrolling….
… can foment envy and resentment, as well as anxiety-provoking Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)….many social media users portray…their lives in an unrealistically flattering manner….while the routine monotonous grind of daily life is rarely shown….scrolling users may wrongly conclude that others are leading much more fulfilling, exciting and happier lives.
The Active Use of Social Media – posting…
often with the purpose of seeking the approval and admiration of others. In psychology, this is known as a search for ‘external validation’. In urban slang, it is known as ‘fishing for likes’.
Social Media and Physical Health
…heavy usage of social media and digital devices can negatively affect physical health.
[for example] heavy usage (especially before bed) can negatively affect the quality and quantity of sleep….
Similarly, heavy social media users can spend large amounts of time staring at a small screen, which can contribute towards headaches, migraines, and problems with vision….and less time in exercise and outdoor activity in nature, which has been linked to good mental health.
Social Media and Social Activity
social media can allow users to connect with people of similar interests and mindsets, contributing to increasing social networks. [social media] is not all doom and gloom, and usage in moderation can sometimes foster social connections and social capital.
[However] heavy users of social media… may be forgoing actual face-to-face social interactions to indulge their social media habits. Perhaps this time would be better spent actually socializing with people in real life?
Steps to Taking a Digital Detox
Heavy usage of digital devices and social media is harmful for mental health. [However, taking] some simple steps can moderate usage with beneficial effects:
The first step relates to time: abstain[ing] from digital devices and social media during certain times of the day, or even certain days of the week…for example, no usage after 9 PM, or no usage on Sundays.
The second step relates to space. Some British pubs have enacted a ‘no phones, no laptops, no tablets’ policy to encourage social conversation.
Similarly, some people are specifying digital-free spaces in their own homes. This commonly includes spaces such as the bedroom or the dinner table, .
The third step related to alternatives. Many people are using social media and digital devices to fill a social vacuum. A successful digital detox will create free time for alternative activities, which may better fill this vacuum. Individuals can create an action plan in this regard, which may include rekindling old interests, pursuing new hobbies, or volunteering.
A digital detox can give time for introspection and renewal. It can be a positive for mental and physical health, and create a new space for alternative health-promoting activities
Try it and see for yourself.
Hey Simon what do you think? 私に一コメントさせていただければ・・・・
Let’s get some tea…from my delicious-sounding tea sound effect….
My life is a little unusual in that I have periods when I am working, really quite hard, during semester, and then periods like now when I’m on a break and I don’t have any classes. When I have classes I look at the news and social media quite a lot because I use that content in my classes, I talk with my students about the stuff that I see in the news and on social media.
In the breaks, in spring vacation and summer vacation, I actually don’t look at the news and I don’t look at social media very much at all. During the semester when I’m looking at the news a lot I do find that I am more depressed.
I’m gonna have to go back to looking at the news, but I really am enjoying the fact that I am not looking the news, and it definitely improved my mental health, I definitely feel better, to the point where I’m kind of like, “Oh no semester is going to start again, and I’m gonna have to go back to looking at the news….” I like teaching my students, I don’T want to go back to looking at the news!
Anyway so I think the advice to gauge how I am feeling and kind of limit how much I look at the news is good advice that I should follow…
Hey Listeners what do you think?
Do you find that your mental and emotional health is affected by looking at the news and social media?
Have you ever tried to limit your usage? Did you find it improved how you felt?