3 Ways To Beat News Fatigue

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • In the middle of an information war it can be hard to navigate being informed and being overwhelmed by news.

    • Worry can be addictive and people can end up in a news vortex trapped in a cycle of adrenaline rush to numbness.

    • There are ways to shift out of this while remaining informed about what is going on in the world.

  • Reflect On:
    • Is it possible that an addiction to adrenaline can be driving your news intake?

    • What checks and balances do you have in place to make sure you are not in an endless scroll?

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News overload can leave someone feeling tired, angry, and hopeless. This is why it is important to understand how to digest information intentionally. Just like “overeating,” constantly being bombarded with information without processing it, is not healthy.

However, never seeking information or doing research can lead to consequences as well. So where is the balance? How does someone navigate this information war?

When asked, “what could you be doing have better health in your life?” People can usually easily write a list that includes: Eat healthier, exercise more, spend less time on devices, meditate, pray, go outside etc. People know the things they “should” be doing, so then why aren’t they?

One thing to consider may be the addictive quality of worry and anxiety. News just happens to be an easy way to get a “hit”of worry in order to activate the stress response in the body that releases a nice chemical cocktail of hormones. Otherwise known as an adrenaline rush, or the “flight or fight” response. 

Adrenaline gets the heart pumping faster, while cortisol releases sugar into the bloodstream. Then neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin join in to activate the reward centre of the brain.

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This cycle of using worry to create an adrenaline rush in order to produce dopamine and serotonin is what may be responsible for a burnout cycle. In life this looks like a constant swing between being highly productive to completely numbing out and watching T.V, eating, drinking etc.

So without addressing the inconvenient truth that perhaps there might be something deeper than just watching too much news taking place, even if someone stops watching news they will find something else to worry or be anxious about.

Now please don’t start to worry about being “addicted” to worry. Anxiously trying to “fix” an addictive behaviour is not the answer. It is using the same thing that created the issue to try and help it.

So the first step to beat news fatigue is to,

1) Become compassionately aware that there is an addictive quality to worry that news can spark. Be honest with yourself if this might be something you’ve experienced. 

There isn’t anything wrong with you if this is true. You are not broken and this is not who you are. It is just something to look at and to heal and shift from.

Some ways to reflect if this might be something you are experiencing is to keep a journal for a few days where you write down anytime you feel stress, worried, anxious, fearful, the date and time. Stopping to write it down will just bring attention to it, and ideally help shift your awareness.

Have a “oh this is interesting” inner dialogue. Trying your best not to shame yourself through this process.

Or you can ask someone you trust if they have noticed you tend to live in these emotions often. Please choose someone you trust to be honest as well as compassionate.

This step is just about cultivating awareness.

2) Do something that brought you joy as a child.

Revisit childhood hobbies such as sports, games, crafts, or other activities that you remember you loved as a kid. Instead of trying to stop scrolling the news, take time to do things you that put you in a state of joy. This can help regulate your nervous system and shift your mindset. It will also give you energy.

Then when you do consume news you will be in a better state to stay level headed, and think more clearly.

In other words the information will be less likely to hijack your nervous system.

Finally, there has undoubtedly been deep connections and bonds created throughout the pandemic. However, if most of the conversations with new like-minded friends have been constantly around the pandemic this can lead to feeling drained as well. Become aware if all that is talked about is, how the “other side” is so dumb, how “messed” up the world is, and telling sad stories. Instead,

3) Intentionally curate conversations with trusted friends and family that have a “no complaining” rule.

Depth is still important, so talking about the weather is not the idea here. But can you create a space or time, even just for one hour, where instead of complaining about COVID share the beautiful things that you have experienced in the last couple of years. Talk about dreams and what you want to create in the future. Be solution oriented instead of problem oriented. This doesn’t mean completely ignore or downplay real issues, but rather, just to see if you can connect on something other than COVID trauma.

Here are some conversation prompts to try out:

  • What have been the best memories for you over the last couple years?
  • What is the most important lesson you have learned throughout this experience?
  • What dreams do you have for the future?
  • How have you seen me grow through the pandemic?
  • What skills are you inspired to learn in the future?

These conversations even though still around the topic of the pandemic, will give you energy instead of drain it.

Tag us on instagram @thepulse_one when you are doing activities that overcome news fatigue.

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