Step away from the headlines…
A barrage of notifications and the flood of news content on social media platforms are enough to cause more than one disorder. As newspapers and broadcast stations compete for advertising dollars, news becomes more urgent and headlines more intriguing because clicks mean dollars.
The hosts asked for suggestions on treating Headline Anxiety Disorder and listeners called in with great advice. For one, set a time limit on news consumption and when the timer goes off, so does the television.
The second suggestion was to put down the remote, unsubscribe to the notifications and pick up a newspaper. Be still my local newspaper loving heart, I thought.
The idea is to read the news after a complete thought can be written on it, instead of piecing together bits of information released periodically.
As someone in the news, I know how exciting it is to be the first to know and how addictive getting the scoop can be. There is value in obtaining information in real-time and great reason to follow local crime and legislative sessions closely. There is also value in stepping away from notifications and spending time away from the news.
There’s always going to be something new– another investigation, another allegation, another crime. But there isn’t ever going to be a new you.
While it is imperative in a democracy to hold officials and departments accountable, they, like all humans, require time to do their job. If we want complete, accurate and unbiased information, sometimes we will have to wait for it. The truth is always there, but it isn’t always in plain sight.
Expectations of transparency and timeliness within government and news organizations should not be lowered, but the effects of constant news streams on our well-being and productivity should be evaluated. If the continuous buzz of news is hindering your community involvement or escalating your anxiety levels, it is no longer a benefit to be in the know.
It is essential to know what’s going on in your community, state, and country, to make lasting, necessary changes. But the sky is not always as close to falling as it may seem.
Take a break from headline cruising for a day or two. It’s likely the world will still be intact, and your mental health a little more so, too.