• Stress management tip: Go on a news fast

    March 15, 2017 | curtrosengren
  • [Back to How to stop stressing so you can change the world]

    Want to feel happier and less stressed? Stop watching the news!

    know, I know. I can already hear you spluttering, “But! But! But! I have to stay informed!”

    Yes, you do. No argument there. But if you want to be a long-term force for positive change, you also have to acknowledge the very real effect of gorging on negative news.

    In my coaching work, when clients are feeling so stressed by what’s happening in the world that their head is about to pop, I often suggest experimenting with a news fast. Start with one week and don’t consume any news.

    In all the times I have seen people try that, I have never had someone come back and say, “Well that was pointless.” Every single time they come back and say, “That really helped. I feel so much better this week.”

    And it’s not just my opinion or anecdotal stories from my clients. Numerous studies have pointed to the toxic effects of negative news consumption, ranging from being more likely to have a bad day, to feeling more fearful and anxious about aspects of your life that have nothing to do with the news, even to the potential for PTSD-like symptoms.

    Here’s a post I wrote recently looking at the research on the impact of negative news consumption. (Newsflash! It’s not pretty.)

    Look, I know you’re going to watch the news. Probably more than is good for you. But if you’re going to do it, do it intentionally. (Here’s a post offering some ideas on how to stay informed without bursting a gasket.)

    If nothing else, resist the urge to consume it first thing in the morning. The way you start your day affects how you experience the rest of the day. Do you really want to kick your day off by feeding your mind yet another message of just how screwed up the world is?

    Instead, commit to starting your day off with something more positive, like spending some time on a positive news site, reading an uplifting book, or listening to a positive podcast.

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