The Huffington Post did a segment in an effort to shed some light on the impact of the world’s negative news, if the news does, in fact, impact a person’s mental health. The short answer is yes.
People have never before in the history of the world lived where they were surrounded with so much media and information. So 100 years ago, if there was a disaster and you were not in it, you actually weren’t aware of anything going on around you, therefore weren’t overwhelmed. The main difference between today and prior news coverage is social media. Seventy-four percent of online adults use social media networks, with half of them using the site for daily news. Additionally, 78% of Facebook users (which reaches more adults than any other site) indirectly see shared news stories. When our brain perceives a threatening situation, our bodies begin to produce stress hormones that enter the brain and may modulate memories of stressful or negative events.
Be conscious of the way the news is affecting you. Understand what bothers you and why and how it contributes to your stress levels. Shutting off your social sites to indulge in self-care doesn’t mean you don’t care about the world around you. It means you recognize that it’s not helping anyone to feel so sad and hopeless. The psychological term is compassion fatigue.