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ACA Counseling Corner Blog

We all face daily challenges in today's complicated and demanding world. ACA’s Counseling Corner Blog offers thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and strategies for helping you to live a happier and healthier life.

Columns can be reprinted in full or in part with attribution to the American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.


Feb 04, 2019

Is The News Harming Your Health?

It's more difficult today to not know what's going on in the world. From print sources of the news to online media to 24/7 radio and TV news stations, everybody is working to keep us informed.

And it turns out that's not always a good thing.

While you may think it's important to stay up-to-date, when so much news, and in such detail, comes at us every day it can have a negative effect.  One recent survey found more than half of Americans reporting that the news caused them stress, making  them anxious, tired and even unable to sleep because of the news.

And yet we can't seem to stay away.  That same survey found that one in ten adults checks the news every hour and that some 20% of us constantly monitor our social media feeds.

One problem with all this news is that not all of it is what we really need to know. Cable news networks must fill up 24 hours each day and do so by reporting a story, repeating and emphasizing often-disturbing details, and then assembling a panel to analyze it in minute detail. 

In addition, the news being reported, especially of disasters of any sort, tends to be much more visual than ever. TV news is filled with not only professional video of events, but often also includes smartphone videos and audio clips that can have an extremely strong impact on viewers as we are  drawn closer into the disaster or other event.

A first step in trying to be less affected by the news being delivered is to become more aware of how a news event changes your mood or makes your thoughts more negative. If you find yourself becoming more anxious or stressed as you watch the news, take a break and turn to a more positive activity.

You can also cut back on how much news you let into your life. No one needs constant news alerts on their phone, or to have a 24-hour news channel constantly in the background.

Experts recommend limiting your consumption of the news to one block of time each day. Maybe watch a news update at lunch, or before dinner. While it's a good thing to be aware and informed, it's not a good thing when too much news is negatively affecting your life and health.

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