I’ve gone on a news diet. It has made me life infinitely more awesome. I don’t hide from the news… but I limit the news, I don’t look at it early in the morning, I don’t see it on my social media feeds and I don’t have a whole day infused with talking about the news. Not only do I feel more present and informed, I also feel much happier!!!
“When our brain perceives a threatening situation, our bodies begin to produce stress hormones that enter the brain and may modulate memories of stressful or negative events.” – Sonia Lupien, director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress in Montreal
Here are some amazing studies about how news can affect us. My sister Nicole and I have been plagued by too much news and made a pact to so she’s found some of the most fascinating research about news for all of us today!
A study conducted in 2007 and published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, entitled “Negative Psychological Effects of Watching the News in the Television: relaxation or another intervention may be needed to buffer them!” examined the correlation between watching the news on television and anxiety and total mood disturbance. Subjects (undergraduate students) were divided into 2 groups where both groups watched 15 minutes of random news. After watching the news, one group received 15 –minutes of a relaxation exercise, while the other group received a lecture. In both groups, baselines for anxiety and total mood affect were tested before watching the news and after either the lecture or the relaxation exercise. As reported HERE: “These findings demonstrate that watching the news on television triggers persisting negative psychological feelings that could not be buffered by attention-diverting distraction (i.e., lecture), but only by a directed psychological intervention such as progressive relaxation.
In 1997 a study was published in the, British Journal of Psychology, conducted by Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D and Wendy M. Johnston, entitled, “The Psychological Impact of Negative TV News Bulletins: The catastrophizing of personal worries”. Subjects were divided into 3 groups and were asked to watch 14-minute news clips on television that were controlled to either be positive, neutral, or negative. Those subjects who watched the negative news were significantly more anxious and sad after watching the negative news. The study also showed that subjects who watched the negative programs were more likely to increase their level of worry, and exacerbate their personal worries and anxieties unrelated to the negative material viewed on the 14 -minute news clip.
Michelle Gielan, Shawn Anchor along with Arianna Huffington conducted a study where 110 participants were randomly placed in to two groups. One group watched 3-minutes of negative news before 10am, while the other group watched news that was “transformative” and solution based. They watched stories of people overcoming obstacles, such as a 70 year old man that finally got his GED after failing the test over a dozen times. They found, as reported in the Harvard Business Review, “…individuals who watched just three minutes of negative news in the morning had a whopping 27% greater likelihood of reporting their day as unhappy six to eight hours later compared to the positive condition.”
A national survey carried out by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a national survey of over 2,500 Americans. They found that, as reported HERE, “…about 1 in 4 said they had experienced a “great deal” of stress in the previous month. And these stressed-out people said one of the biggest contributors to their day-to-day stress was watching, reading or listening to the news.”
Ready to de-clutter your life a bit by watching a little less news or creating your own habits around news consumption?!
A few things to possibly try:
Change your news times to later in the day.
Set a limit on how much news you watch.
Feel how it makes you feel.
Hook up to “solution” causes and groups and actions to work toward more harmony and solutions!
It is life changing!
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