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We all want to stay on top of what's going on in the world around us… but if watching or reading the news is causing you stress, you aren't alone.
In fact, a 2020 World Health Organization report coined a new word: “infodemic”. Infodemic refers to “an overabundance of information” that is sometimes inaccurate.
The good news is that it’s possible to learn how to avoid the news to reduce stress in your life. So let's dive in to figuring out how, shall we?
Why Avoid the News?
According to an American Psychological Association survey, more than 50% of Americans feel stress when they read or watch the news. Many survey respondents reported that they experience fatigue, anxiety, depression and sleep loss after consuming news.
When you consciously avoid the news, you can focus on the things in your life that truly matter… including your personal development, family and friends, and passions. Also, your mood will drastically improve when you stop following the news.
In the pre-internet and social media era, people had to consciously seek out the news. Maybe they watched the 6:00 news after dinner every evening? Or perhaps they picked up their daily newspaper? At that time, the news wasn't constantly bombarding everyone 24 hours a day. However, thanks to social media and online sources, we are now slammed in the face with the news everywhere we turn.
When you log onto Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, or Twitter to see what's going on in the world (or with your friends and family)… the trending topics are usually all about controversial topics, news headlines and otherwise negative stuff.
To make matters worse, it's becoming increasingly difficult to know the difference between legitimate news and questionable news. There's no escaping the news, unfortunately, but you can certainly take some steps to reduce the impact it has on your life and well-being.
9 Tips to Avoid the News to Reduce Your Life Stress
Even if troubling news is true, should you be dialed into the news all the time?
The fact is, it's not productive (or a good use of your time) to obsess over the news. But is it possible tostay informed while still maintaining some balance in our lives?
Let's go over some tips on how to do just that.
1. Cancel Subscriptions
Do you still read the newspaper every day? Most of us don't, but if you do, go ahead and unsubscribe.
You can get your news online when you want it.
Unsubscribing isn't just for the daily newspaper that most of us don't get anymore. When we suggest canceling subscriptions, we are also referring to the following:
2. Avoid Social Media Altogether
While social media definitely has its perks, and has contributed some positive things to the world, the fact is that there is more negative than positive about most social media platforms. Increasingly, individuals are using social media to put their political opinions (and in some cases, their ignorance) on blast.
How does it benefit you to see this every day?
If you enjoy social media, be very careful about who you follow and stick to your niche interests. When it comes to negative and disturbing news, Twitter is perhaps the worst of the worst, with Facebook coming in at a close second.
No matter what you use Twitter and Facebook for, there is no avoiding the constant “screaming” about politics and news headlines. Stick to more positive and intelligent social media platforms such as Quora and selective Reddit subreddits that are not about news or politics. Keep in mind that Reddit can be a negative place, too, so follow subreddits very selectively.
The last tip about social media is to use the block feature liberally. Block accounts, individuals, and news outlets that are adding stress to your day. I promise you that you won't miss them one bit once they're gone.
3. Get Tight Control of Your Newsfeeds
The first step to controlling what crosses your line of sight every day is to disable notifications from news apps on your smartphone or tablet. Most news apps are set up to require us to opt in to notifications. If you've opted into these pesky notifications in the past, take a few minutes to sit down with your phone or tablet and disable them. Then, you can go to the news app at your leisure when you want to check in with the world.
If you do want to continue using social media, use social media consciously. On social media platforms, unlike or unfollow news and political pages or accounts that cross your newsfeed.
4. Adopt a Conscious Media Diet
It's important to know what's going on in the world, but you can control how (and how often) you consume your news. It's equally important to make sure you're getting your news from reliable sources. Avoid hyper-partisan news sources and the networks that are geared to extremes, whether left-wing or right-wing.
When you're looking for unbiased news sources, stick to organizations that are dedicated to delivering the news, not a partisan agenda. Here are some of the best sources for non-biased news.
While you certainly don't want to be like an ostrich with its head in the sand, you can easily stay on top of what's going on in the world and your community without being plugged into the news. Schedule your news consumption by setting a time and day to check in with the news. Maybe you will do it once a day, or perhaps once a week is better for you. However you schedule your news diet, make sure it's conscious and stick to it.
5. Consume Less, Create More
Let's face it: for many of us, turning to the news or Twitter feed is an effort to alleviate boredom. Sometimes we catch our minds drifting while we're working or reading and suddenly wonder what we've been missing out on while we were busy. Resist this temptation by having an alternative activity planned for these moments.
It's going to happen. It happens to everyone most days. You're rocking along through your day and your mind becomes bored, lazy, or distracted. Human beings aren't biologically geared to grind away at the same thing for hours. If you have a creative project lined up, you can turn to that when your brain needs a break.
Here are some ideas for creative projects you can work on when you take necessary brain breaks.
Any of these activities will give you the break you need and you will go back into your workday feeling refreshed, not depressed from the news.
6. Get Closer to Nature
When you get outside, you get some much-needed vitamin D from sunlight, as well as all of the wonderful benefits of exercise and fresh air. When you get up to go outside for a walk, leave your phone behind if you can. If you need to take your phone with you for safety reasons or other reasons, turn it off or put it on vibrate so that it's not intruding on your time with nature. Spending time in nature is an excellent way to practice self-care.
As you're spending time with nature, be as mindful as possible and notice the world around you. What shade of green are the leaves on the trees? What color blue is the sky?
If you have more time to spend outside than just a walk, that's even better. The great outdoors has a lot to offer us and it's the world's best playground.
7. Leave Your Phone Behind
You may be old enough to remember a time when the telephone was in one part of the house. To talk on the phone, we had to be where the phone was. We couldn't carry it around with us everywhere we went. Today, our phones are with us everywhere we go. However, it doesn't have to be that way.
Get into the habit of leaving your phone in one spot in your house. It may be on the hall table or on your desk. You will still hear it when it rings, but there's no need to carry it around with you everywhere you go when you're at home or at the office.
And by all means, if you take your phone to bed with you because you use it as an alarm clock (most of us do), turn it upside-down on your bedside table. Nothing will interrupt a good night's sleep more than an unwelcome and unsavory news headline.
8. Invest in Reading Materials
One way to stay on top of what's going on in the world in a conscious way is by reading. You can learn more about any topic in the world by reading, and there are so many great ways to read. Whether you prefer hard-copy books, e-books via a Kindle, or audiobooks, you can learn more about a topic by reading than you will ever learn by watching the news.
You can read books that show you how to hack your brain chemicals to achieve greater happiness, such as “Habits of a Happy Brain” by Loretta Graziano Breuning. Alternatively, you can also spend the time you used to spend browsing Twitter trending topics in a totally new way: get caught up on your favorite fiction.
9. Travel More
Have you ever noticed that when you're traveling, you're focused on your surroundings rather than the latest political scandal? A lot of this is biological. When we are in unfamiliar places, we are genetically geared to pay attention to our surroundings for safety. However, it's also incredibly stimulating to see and hear new things.
If you can travel to new locations, that's great, but you can also “travel” within your own community. Go to a neighborhood you've never visited and visit their shops and art galleries, for instance. If you're near a major city, you can also visit museums, arboretums, zoos, and more without having to fill up your gas tank.
Final Thoughts on How to Avoid the News
You have the power within you to take back your peace of mind and filter the news you allow into your world.
If you're feeling stress and anxiety from news overload, you now have some immediate steps you can take today to learn how to avoid this. Eliminating negative news is one of the few things you can control in your life… when there is so much that we can’t.
You can also try reading the words of great thinkers who spoke about this topic can help you learn to cope better. To see what some of the world's finest minds have to say about anxiety, check out our article that's full of quotes that can help keep you calm when you're feeling stressed out.
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.