In a year where almost everything has been unprecedented, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was impossible to hear good news. But we’ve got some: 2020 is almost over! However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down just yet – there’s still an election to get through.
The combination of this year’s extraordinary events forced us into spending more time online than ever before, unable to escape the neverending news of the impending apocalypse. Buzzes, tweets, notifications, live updates, misinformation, and conspiracy theories, have seen us exposed to a constant barrage of headlines that only added fuel to the inferno of anxiety and anger most of us have been feeling.
No news can be good news
Our exposure to and awareness of the 24-hour news cycle –which seeks our attention incessantly through a multitude of channels – now works at a speed and frequency that was previously unimaginable.
Many of us no longer receive only a daily paper or tune in to the six o’clock news once a day. Instead, we are bombarded by notifications and alerts, our attention held hostage by headlines in news feeds and timelines, and in many cases we find ourselves assaulted by our peers’ angst, anger, and disappointment in the form of statuses, tweets, and captions.
Although there are benefits to being better informed, the amount and frequency of such negative and emotionally-charged news can take a serious toll on our mental health. And with one of the most divisive elections in US history looming, political news, in particular, can cause us to obsess over our beliefs and lash out against those we disagree with. Paying too much attention to politics could even hurt your happiness and your relationships, so it’s essential to find a way to cope with the influx of information as 2020 draws to a close.
Do we know too much?
It is not unusual to feel down or pessimistic after watching the news. However, some research has shown that exposure to violent and negative media can increase your chances of stress, anxiety, depression, and even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Other research also suggests that such negative news may impact your mood and the way in which you perceive and interact with the world. For example, internalizing the anxiety or sadness created by a news story may subconsciously make you more aware of negative or threatening events, and as a result, make you more likely to classify neutral stimuli as dangerous or threatening in the future.
Furthermore, research concerning social media use found that users who most frequently checked social media throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to experience depression.
Finding freedom from the noise
Here at Freedom, we love our ever-changing digital world and appreciate the benefits afforded by our new technologies. However, we also believe that with the development of new technology, we need to be conscientious about our uses and practices – making sure our technology continues to help rather than harm us.
If you feel like you could use a vacation from headlines and negativity, Freedom can help.
Use Freedom to block the following for a set period of time across all your devices:
- News apps
- Social media platforms
- News sites
- Push notifications
- Email alerts
With Freedom, you can create custom blocklists of anything you need a break from, or choose from common preset blocks.
Decide when you want to view the news by setting the time, duration, and devices affected for your blocks. You can even schedule blocks in advance, or use the recurring session option to create a recurring schedule of blocks.
Restore balance, and give yourself the peace of mind you need and deserve.