Most of us are familiar with the phrase “if it bleeds it leads.” The more sensationalistic, dramatic, painful, violent or destructive news stories are the better – anything to increase reader-, viewer- and listenership.
Yet people, being emotional and reactive beings, are frequently affected by what they see and hear, and not always in a good way.
What are some of the effects that exposure to negative news can have? Psychologist Deborah Serani says, “the distressing fall-out from this trend is that children and adults who are exposed to media are more likely than others to (a) feel that their neighborhoods and communities are unsafe, (b) believe that crime rates are rising, (c) overestimate their odds of becoming a victim, and (d) consider the world to be a dangerous place.”
Even indirect exposure via time spent on social networking sites can affect you, if your friends and colleagues are regularly talking about and linking to heavy, sad and depressing things.
Here are some things you can do if news is making you feel glum:
- Scan headlines only
- Be extremely selective in what you read and watch
- Read positive news outlets like the Good News Network, Daily Good,
Positively Positive and the newly-launched HuffPost Good News
- Take a complete news break
- Have positive outlets in your life that outweigh and exceed the negative ones
- Seek professional help if you find yourself feeling sad for a prolonged amount of time or are feeling depressed