IS NEWS AFFECTING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, it's safe to say that many of us can constantly be seen checking the news, social media, etc. trying our best to stay as updated as we can.
However, this can have a downside. Compulsively checking our phone for any and every update can have a detrimental effect on our mental health because of a number of reasons.
1. We are often exposed to news that is severely manipulated and twisted, which not only is extremely unfair since the sole purpose of majority news providers is to provide us with holistic, true information but can sometimes prove to be detrimental to our mental health
2. One feeds off to the information they’re exposed to, when we are exposed to only negativity, we too tend to think a certain way. Even though it’s important to be aware of both good and bad around us, it can be seen that the majority of news providers share more negative news than positive. A study shows that ‘like many things in life, negativity too, can become a habit. Frequent exposure can create neural pathways in the brain that encourage sadness. These negative tendencies can cause our brain to distort the truth and make it even more difficult to break the negative cycle’.
3. Taking in consideration the Covid-19 Pandemic, the main psychological impact being elevated rates of stress or anxiety, however, this can have much more serious effects such as loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behavior and in many cases OCD (obsessive compulsion disorder). Even though in such cases it is extremely important to know about everything around you but misinformation, fake news is extremely prevalent since not much is known about this virus. Many people fall victim to such news and are forced to face the consequences.
4. Fake news/misinformation is on the rise. However, it can prove to have even more severe effects when provided by a ‘reliable’ sources, for example, On April 10, Zee News reported that the entire northeast has 11 coronavirus patients who can be traced back to Tablighi Jamaat event in March. The Arunachal Pradesh Information and Public Relations department called out the channel for the same and clarified that the report did not reveal the fact. This can not only lead to conflicts, confusion but can have major effects on one’s mental health. One of the biggest perpetrators of fake news is said to be social media, 63% of the fake news in India is spread solely through WhatsApp.
Therefore, even though it's important to be aware of everything around you, too much of anything is bad and it's just as important to double-check all your sources.