We live in a world that is pushed forward by information. Everything relies on information: our day-to-day lives, political decisions and climate, discovery and innovation — so on and so forth.
We get most of our information by consuming the news. That doesn’t necessarily entail buying daily papers or downloading news agencies’ apps, per se — although a lot of people do that; just by speaking to others or going onto social media, we often immediately become exposed to what is happening in the world.
That’s not a bad thing at its core: the more you know, the more well-prepared you are for a lot of things. A lot of decisions we have to make, down to things as seemingly personal as what you should study at university, often depend on how the world is at a given moment.
That still doesn’t mean that it’s that good either. Here’s why.
It’s all too much
Being aware of what’s going on in the world doesn’t equate to having notifications on for five different news apps you have on your phone at all times.
When I say that you should limit your news consumption, I don’t mean it in a “read one article per day” way — just don’t engage with news non-stop. It really won’t help you with anything, really, besides making yourself more anxious.
You are not immune to propaganda
News outlets pretend to be as unbiased as possible; doesn’t mean that they actually are. Some organisations have overarching organisation-wide goals/leanings — there are multiple reasons for that. Some online outlets can let people write whatever the hell they want without keeping them in check. Some are simply bad at moderating even if they try to. Some are too good at moderating.
The list goes on, and naming any specific names could be argued to be libel, which none of us here would want — but be careful. Ideas do tend to be pushed onto the reader.
Check what you read, and who the author is. When you can, of course.
It’s plain depressing…
Being aware of the situation in the world is important, of course, but things can be quite damning. News are often about the more grim and seemingly hopeless sides of things; the stories of cute puppies being rescued and the bees no longer being endangered will be buried beneath stories of crimes, tragedy and tension.
The fact that human brains tend to focus more avidly on the more negative sides of things (which is aptly called negativity bias) doesn’t help at all.
And sometimes you don’t need that. What do you need information on Brexit for if you live in a small far-East rural town somewhere in Russia?
A lot of people nowadays choose to limit their own consumption of news just because of how depressed it makes them feel, and they have a point. Read the news that concern you.
…and is overall dangerous for your health
Besides having a negative effect on your moods and outlook in general, constant negativity has other, physical repercussions.
For example: when our brains are stressed, they produce cortisol — this hormone can encourage cardiovascular diseases, inflammation and so on, and so forth.
Take care of your health and reduce the amound of stress in your life. Yes, that also means the amount of news you consume — most of us have felt stressed out by news in at least some way.