Being informed of what’s going on in the world is important.  But sometimes it seems like we’re bombarded with negative news.  Turn on the TV, open the paper or read your homepage headlines and you’ll likely hear about a bombing, a shooting or a fire.  Bad news definitely sells, there is no doubt and the stories are easy to document the what, where and how.  But does all this bad news take a toll on your health? 

 

We feel the negative affects immediately.  We react to these stories and sometimes carry the negative feeling they bring about long after we’ve read the last sentence.  It can’t be healthy to immerse yourself in the worst of the world and human nature every night.   There’s a substance to be found in information relevant to personal and civic life but the endless cycle of troubling events and violent images do leave an imprint that often disheartens more than it informs. 

 

Information helps us understand our world and inspires us to work toward constructive change but a constant stream of negative news does take a toll on our well being.  In one study, 89 people were shown four traumatic events.  Nearly 20% reported symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder after the viewings. 

 

Negative news can be inspirational and invoke change for the better.  Negative stories that inform a citizenry make them smarter voters when electing public officials. Also, when people hear about disasters or problems around the world, they are often inspired to help in some way.

 

Just as the negative stories leave a negative effect, the positive leave a positive effect.  Reading positive stories has many positive effects beyond your health. According to a 2005 study, people who hear good news in the morning are more likely to be productive and happy at work. 

 

There has to be a middle ground between sticking our head in the sand and reliving every human tragedy.  No one is saying to throw the TV out the window but limiting the amount of negative news we view will definitely improve moods and well being.  No studies need to prove this-we feel the effects while watching the news and know the culprit.  Maybe intentionally reading a positive story after a negative can counter the effect and create a healthy balance.  It’s definitely a start. 

 

 

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