Don’t Let the News Stress You Out: 5 Tips for Handling Negative Media

In today’s age of instant information, it can feel like we’re constantly bombarded with news — and much of it is far from rosy. Whether it’s an act of violence on the other side of the world, a crime a block away, or an accident in your city, it’s sometimes difficult to avoid letting bad news stress you out. The negative stories are often recycled on social media, making these topics seem almost impossible to avoid.

But you don’t have to let the stress get to you. With the right mindset, habits, and strategies, you can face negative media and stay positive. Here are five tips to help you do just that.

1. Seek Out the Positive

Sometimes the best way to combat a stream of bad news is with an equal amount of good news. Find websites to visit daily that focus on positive topics. These can be light and entertaining, such as The Daily Puppy, or substantive and inspiring like the Good News Network.

Do the same thing with your social media accounts. Join a positive Facebook group so it will show up in your news feed. Follow accounts on Instagram that post pictures that make you smile, whether that means pictures of kittens, beautiful landscape photos, or motivational quotes. On Twitter, follow people whose work and ideas inspire you, such as your favorite author, a musical artist you enjoy, or a spiritual figure who shares uplifting messages.

2. Take an Internet Vacation

No matter what sites you frequent, spending too much time online can foster increased negativity. A university study found that young adults with heavy computer and mobile-phone use tend to be more depressed, have higher stress levels, and sleep more poorly.

You can do a lot for your happiness if you just unplug once a week. Choose one day to avoid the Internet, and put your smartphone on airplane mode. Bask in your day of peace, and focus on making real, human connections with the people in your life.

3. Get Outside

If the media has a tendency to report more on negative events, it’s because these are what attract our attention the most. But when we fixate on bad news, our point of view is affected. We need a reminder of the good things that are out there in the world — but that can be tough to get when we’re stuck indoors all day!

Going outside, enjoying the fresh air, and focusing on something different can put things in perspective. Not to mention, spending time in the sunlight can lighten your mood. Research has found that people who spend more time in the sun have better Vitamin D levels and improved moods. Just make sure you put on sunscreen if you’ll be out in the rays for very long!

4. Use the Mute Button

If you’re surrounded by negative inputs, you may need to create positive connections with individuals who can help you deal with the stress. Find a group of like-minded, happy people whose perspectives encourage and uplift you, and create opportunities to spend more time with this circle of friends.

Meanwhile, find ways to “mute” the people who tend to bring you down. If someone you’re friends with online shares too many negative posts, simply unfollow them on Twitter or Facebook. You won’t see their posts, but you’ll still be connected with them on that social media channel, and they’ll never know that you put them on mute.

5. Give Back

Another great way to stop internalizing all the negativity that surrounds us is by stepping outside our comfort zones and helping others. Consider volunteering or taking on a hobby that has a clear, positive effect on others’ lives that helps you feel like you’re making a difference.

Consider volunteering with an animal shelter, at a church, or in a nursing home. Focus on giving back and making a positive impact. This way, even if negative things are happening, you’ll know that you’re doing your part to help other people.

Do you have a tried and true method to avoid bad news getting you down? Tell us about it on Twitter!

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