Overloaded: Coping With Bad News in the Media

No doubt, we’re inundated with a stream of tragic news—from mass shootings and plane crashes to devastating natural disasters and the next pandemic disease. Although our unfettered access to news and images can be useful and convenient, it can also be detrimental—processing all the bad news can leave one feeling overwhelmed, and even depressed.

Before you decide to completely cut the cord, try methods that can help you feel calm and balanced, while still staying informed:

  • Limit your intake. Avoid constantly checking your smartphone and computer for the latest news. Instead, decide what times of day you’ll check and leave it at that. A July 2016 Health.com report says that by reading every update and viewing every video or image about an event, we feel more involved in the event, even if not directly affected.
  • Take in the good with the bad. Don’t just read the tragic stories, but pay attention to the positive ones as well. You can also direct yourself to websites such as the Good News Network (goodnewsnetwork.org) and Good News Daily (www.goodnewsdaily.com), which gather and post uplifting news from around the world.
  • Volunteer. By volunteering, you can reduce feelings of helplessness while also making a difference. Check out volunteer database websites, such as volunteermatch.org, allforgood.org, and idealist.org, to search for volunteer work that is right for you.
  • Donate. Similar to volunteering your time, giving money, clothes, or other items, can help increase your sense of purpose. However, be wary of donation scams. Check the Federal Trade Commission’s website (www.consumer.ftc.gov) to make sure a charitable organization is legit.
  • Relax. Find ways to relax, whether it’s through a meditation session, time with friends or family members, or a good workout at the gym. Limit your consumption of caffeine and get enough rest, as well.

If you still find yourself unable to cope with all the bad news, consult a professional. Be sure to check the license of a psychologist on the Board of Psychology’s website at www.psychology.ca.gov.



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