The world is very different to how we have known it in the past, especially since Covid-19 has hit the world by storm. Every day most people watch the daily news to find out what has happened next, and we are consumed by everything that is being broadcast. By watching or reading too much news can affect our mental health by how we think and feel, it can take a toll on us psychically, emotionally and mentally.
Since Covid-19 has entered our screens, it has taken a toll on people’s lives and even our relationships with one another, I personally have noticed when someone has expressed a strong opinion on this topic that may be different to others, it has caused a rift been people because they believe they are right. It has become so toxic that there is a change in how we speak to one another, whether it’s a stranger or a loved one.
We want to stay up to date with the world and the changes happening around us, the problem is, the news is not always ‘Fact’. A lot of it is how it comes across, how they broadcast it and sometimes it is merely an opinion.
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When is it too much? When are we overdoing it?
When we watch or read too much news it impacts us and potentially how we live our life, whether it’s Covid-19, a virus, a mugging that happened near where you live, this may cause fear and anxiety when leaving your front door. Everything that we watch and hear can easily increase our stress and anxiety levels and this can lead to feelings of hopelessness.
The world we live in now changed dramatically, I hear my parents talk about when they were younger and the world back then felt so free, they sounded so happy and now? We live in a world where we are scared to walk home alone, we are afraid to walk our dogs now in case someone takes them and so on. The world currently feels dark and we hear these stories daily whether it’s on the TV, newspaper, social media or even the news app on your phone.
Social media is another topic, like the news, it too can take a toll on our mental health. We are social creatures; we like to have a place where we can talk and share things with our friends so, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook are great ways to do this. We can contact long lost friends, can organise events, job hunt, find out what’s going on and overall, just be social butterflies like we are meant to be. Although there are so many benefits to social media, unfortunately, there are some downfalls too just like everything else.
When you look on social media, you see people are starting to look a certain way because it’s the newest trend. Certain images, even though they may be altered, make you believe that you should look a certain way and have certain possessions in your life, whether it’s going to extravagant places, owning a giant house, having designers’ bags and cars. If you don’t have this, people may feel that they haven’t succeeded in life and that they are failures which can have a huge effect on their self-esteem and how they see themselves. And alongside this there is cyber-bullying or trolling, where an individual receives abuse and bullying on these platforms where people can comment about you, your looks, your life, and lie about you and it can lead to lasting suffering, emotional scars and the most heart-breaking of all, suicide.
Moderation and realising when we need to step back
One of my favourite quotes is by Charles Cooley: ‘Today, I am not what I think I am, I am not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am’. I believe this quote to be so accurate because some days, we consume ourselves with what others think of us, and compare ourselves to them, looking at their lifestyle. Social Media although it can be beneficial, it can also be a very judgemental place making people believe they should look and have a certain lifestyle when that isn’t true. The world would be a boring place if we all had the same lifestyle and looked a certain way, we are all different and that’s the beauty of it.
How do we manage the news and social media? We do this by limiting the time we spend on certain platforms that become toxic, maybe we limit ourselves on how much we watch the news, unsubscribe to pages or delete certain people on your social media who you feel are a trigger and only lead to negativity.
Everything is always about moderation; we cannot shelter ourselves or loved ones from what we see and hear about the world, but we can control how much we hear and read about what’s going on. Always remember to take care of ourselves and to not overload ourself with too much of anything negative.