By Ella Tackett
Every student sees the stories that flood our news feeds every day. Most of them are rather depressing, detailing a world that doesn’t seem very pleasant to live in. But how does all this negativity really affect us, particularly our mental health?
Studies have shown that reading news can dramatically increase anxiety and mood changes. This is not to say that reading news is bad for you; there are certainly upsides. Staying in touch with reality is one of the most important things a person can do. But the constant influx of discouraging information can leave you feeling somewhat disheartened.
This balance of good versus bad doesn’t present much of a choice for people. No one can avoid the headlines, but they can choose how they manage the stress that comes along with it. Healthy coping mechanisms to combat stress can mean the difference between a strong lifestyle and an ailing one.
The main way that news can alter our lives is by changing public opinion. Most often, this is a good thing. By receiving the most current and up-to-date information, especially in urgent situations such as a pandemic, we can take action to protect ourselves and our communities.
A caveat to this is when misinformation is spread, especially on social media. Incorrect data can wreak havoc in communities, and everything you read online must be taken with a grain of salt. Questioning and not blindly believing everything are very valuable life skills.
This can be applied to things such as posts and bulletins online as well; fact-checking sources is a reliable way to make sure something you are reading is true. Conspiracy theories lead to chaos in societies, but individuals have the power to combat misinformation.
Everything we see impacts us in one way or another, but it is up to us to decide to what extent that occurs. We are capable of altering the course of our lives, expectedly more so than a simple news article. If we exert control over how certain things affect us, we will be decidedly better off than most people.