How the media influences mindset

War! Death! Political wars! Recession! Depression! Pandemic!  

Gosh, even writing that is depressing, and yet, so many people have been glued to their televisions for hours on end, consuming media via their phones and laptops, having a negative impact on the mental health of millions around the world, especially over the last couple of years.  

According to a survey by Digital Third Cost, 54% of respondents said they were cutting back on their news consumption to escape feelings of burnout and overwhelm. A staggering 68% said that the news, particularly around the pandemic had made them anxious. 

Is this really surprising, we’ve been through a rough couple of years, with talk of more tough times to come and everything in between. We can access news via our laptops, computers, and take that around with us, feeding us constantly.  

And, as they say – good news simply doesn’t sell. Whether its mainstream media, left wing, right wing, independent – whatever, it’s having a negative impact on our teams. This is especially hard to gauge with remote teams.  

There is an interesting fact about our fascination with bad news. Potentially, we are all affected by “negative bias”, which means we pay more attention to all the bad things happening around us.  

There ARE ways to minimise impact and here are a few suggestions 

Reduce the time you watch the news – there have been studies done that estimate viewers can watch around seven hours of dramatic news when it happens. By reducing the time, you watch the news, it can help to reduce your stress levels and give you time to do other things. 

Watch what resonates – an easy one really, watching a perspective you don’t agree with, on tops of the sensationalism of the news can compound things. 

Avoid watching the news before you got to bed – how many of you have had a bad night’s sleep after watching the news just before you go to bed? Try to avoid watching it for at least a couple of hours before bedtime. 

Phones – we recently started leaving our phones downstairs overnight and this has had a huge impact on the quality of our sleep. 

I’m not saying, ignore the press, it’s always great to be kept informed, by taking back control of how we all digest the media, it can have a positive impact on our mental health and focus at work.  

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