Bad News, Anxiety and the Media

Escaping bad news and tragedy feels like an impossible task. For years war, terrorism, racism, persecution and fear have dominated the news. Thanks to digital technology we are stuck on a 24-hour a day loop of breaking news and broadcasts from the scene of the latest tragedy. Which for almost all of us, now feels far too close to home for comfort.

Even those of the most cheerful disposition are finding it hard. Spare a thought then for the many men, women and children suffering from news anxiety.

Bad news and the media

At no point in modern history has society been as exposed to or as well informed about tragedy. The old adage goes that ‘bad news sells’ and it has found a new lease of life in twenty-first century Britain. News media in this country is obsessed with bad news. For those suffering from anxiety, it is adding yet more reasons to be fearful.

Anxiety can be summed up in two words: what if. These small, seemingly insignificant words can wield a devastating power. Anxiety sufferers worry over future possibilities: what if this happens? what if that happens? will I be able to do this and what if I can’t? what if I try to do this and fail? The scenarios are only limited by our own imagination.

Bad news and ‘what if’

Suffering from anxiety means you are not short of things to worry about. The mind can generate a range of crippling ‘what if’ scenarios within seconds. News media’s obsession with bad news is akin to pouring petrol on the fire of anxiety.

Escaping bad news and tragedy can seem impossible. But it does not have to be that way. There are ways to take back control and break the link between bad news, the media and anxiety. Here are a few suggestions from us.

Decide how to consume news media

Digital media has given us more ways than ever to keep up to date on current events. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it has also given us ways to control how we consume news media.

These days the ‘ding’ of a news notification on your smartphone can trigger a sense of impending doom. If that is the case for you, disable notifications from your news apps. Or better still, delete them altogether.

Lots of people follow news channels on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Consider unfollowing them and taking a break. A sort of mini digital detox can be helpful, particularly if the news is being dominated by a bad news story.

Finally, if a tragedy has occurred, consider whether it is good for you to spend time watching, listening or reading news media at all. Anxiety sufferers can benefit from a self-imposed news blackout. That means avoiding bulletins, staying off 24-hour news channels and taking a break from social media.

Bad news will always exist in the world but that does not mean you are obligated to hear it, see it or read about it.

Seek out good news

Mainstream media or MSM as it has become known as on social media, sticks rigidly to the mantra that ‘bad news sells’. Suffering from anxiety and keeping up to date on the news can become a toxic combination.

Though it might be hard to believe there are sources of good news out there. Have a look at websites like Good News Network, Positive News and the ‘Good News’ section of Huffington Post. Each one covers good news stories that rarely get a mention on mainstream media.

When the news feels like one bad news story after another, visit these sites and read, watch and listen to stories of care, love, selflessness and compassion.

Look at the flip side of the news

A tragic event can define and scar a date permanently. Mainstream media’s coverage of such events leads us to believe that nothing but hate, destruction and pain happened that day. That is fundamentally untrue but it can be hard to see beyond the sensationalist headlines.

The same day that a small number of people decided to spread fear and hate, couples were falling in love for the first time. Babies were being born to delighted parents. Strangers were starting down the road of lifelong friendship. That same day a tragic accident occurred, cancer patients were given the all-clear and scientists made breakthroughs in curing diseases.

It may not seem like it but there is a lot of good news in the world to celebrate. Besides the media’s obsession with bad news, such tragic events dominate the headlines because they are rare. Taking the time to move your point of focus away from infrequent tragedies can be really beneficial.

Here to help with anxiety and worry

Coping with anxiety can leave you feeling alone and isolated. Anxiety often causes sufferers to become insular and withdrawn from relationships with loved ones and friends. If you are suffering from anxiety The Spark can provide support and counselling to help you address the issue.

Speaking to a professional counsellor offers an impartial and safe way of starting to deal with your anxiety issues. To find out more and to book a counselling appointment freephone 0808 802 2088. Alternatively, complete an online enquiry form and our team will be in touch.


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