Column: Don't overload yourself with bad news

Imagine turning on the evening news. What do you see?

Most likely, you imagined some headlining story about a tragic shooting or yet another terrorist attack. It seems that news is made up almost entirely of the unfortunate events that go on in our world, and not so much the good ones.

Recently I wrote an article about how the enormous coverage of terrorist attacks seems to be increasing the amount of terrorism. When researching for that topic I came across a lot of bad news. I mean a massive amount, definitely the vast majority of every news site I visited. Not only about terrorism, bad news about everything under the sun you can imagine.

Family killed by wife? Saw it. Frat pledge killed by brothers? Yep. Infant stuffed in duffle bag? Got it. What I had trouble finding was any type of good news. In fact, I found I had to search pretty hard to find any worthwhile positive news stories.

This is a problem. Not only can bad news possibly cause those with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety to fall into a worse state, but even those of us who don't suffer from such illnesses are falling victim from the ongoing onslaught of bad news. Distressing news causes the limbic system to be triggered, which in turn creates a high level of cortisol and, therefore, increases stress levels. To put it simply, bad news causes stress.

Some bad news is unavoidable. We do need to know about major world events that are occurring around us if they will affect our lives or decision making.

But that story about a baby dying from being left in a hot car too long? Stop reading it. Try reading this story on a group of people who saved a family from drowning this past Saturday. Not only will it stop your stress levels from rising but it will restore your faith in humanity and stop the toxic cycle that is bad news.



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