864-664-2710 | 301 Halton Rd, Suite J, Greenville, SC 29607

It is probably no surprise to anyone that there is an abundance of negative content all around us. With so many methods of media it can be hard to avoid. For some, this can cause an increase in anxiety, stress or depression. An increase in negative content exposure can increase anxiety and can affect our lives and well-being. So, how do we decrease negative content? That is what we are going to talk about today.

What Is Negative Content?

Negative content is information that impacts you emotionally or mentally. Studies show that negative news or content is shared more often than positive, so those who desire for their content to spread, will often times write content that connects with our emotions. With repeated exposures throughout the day, we can keep a heightened sense of anxiety. Have you recognized becoming anxious or stressed while reading an article or a social media post? If so, it could be beneficial for you to decide how often and what types of news you are going to allow yourself exposure to. This is not to say that any one media is a bad choice, but rather to suggest that we become aware of how that information affects us. There are many ways in which we can be exposed to negative news. Below are a few examples.

  • Cell phone texts or feeds
  • Television news
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • YouTube channels
  • Social media
  • Email subscriptions

Information is readily available in today’s time, but that doesn’t mean that being connected to it all is good for us. It is important to recognize how your body responds and take steps to protect yourself.

Why Does Content Affect Me Emotionally?

As we read, our brains are simultaneously and automatically putting a storyline together. This happens without us actively trying to. It uses what we know, what we have experienced and what we believe is true to form the scene in our thoughts. When those pictures come together, we form emotions around how it made us feel, or we remember a circumstance in our own lives. This can lead to us experiencing anxiety or stress over the information that we just saw. If we partake in news and content multiple times a day, we could be contributing to our own increased anxiety, stress or depression. Do you find yourself asking why? Why are we affected so often by what we read, see or hear? Below are a few ways we can be affected by what we are exposed to.

  • Our brains create a picture of what we are reading that feels real
  • Repeated exposure to something becomes more realistic to us, even if it isn’t
  • Different types of reading material are processed differently in the brain
  • We can become more empathetic and thus “feel” what we read often
  • Content can trigger the past or a wound in us that is unhealed

Reading is good for us; many studies will show that. But what we read is just as important. Do you find yourself reacting often to the types of news and content you view each day?

How to Reduce Negative News Exposure?

If you are reading this and questioning if you allow too much negative news and content in your day, there is hope. We all have to first be willing to recognize a need for change before change can happen. Allowing negative influences throughout your day can, overtime, truly impact your well-being. So, what do I do, you might ask? Below are suggestions that you could try to decrease the negative impact from news, feeds and content. Will you take a step toward more positive content?

  • Limit your consumption of news and social media
  • Acknowledge what you are feeling
  • Access if it is real and true for you right now today
  • Replace time spent with something positive
  • Designate certain times to listen or read
  • Write about your feelings each day instead of reading more negative
  • Start a gratitude journal of things you are grateful for
  • Spend time with a friend or talking with one instead of scrolling
  • Reflect on positive experiences & things you enjoy throughout your day
  • Look at the small things such as flowers, nature a picture and smile

Changing what we allow within our days can affect more than just our experiences. As we become more present in what is going on right now around us, we may feel more joy. We may be able to look back and say we have less anxiety. Scheduling time with friends instead of scrolling alone can create positive and fun experiences. As we become more willing to try new things to improve our mental health, we are more likely to make changes. Change can be scary, but change is also good. Remember, change is necessary in order for us change.

If you struggle with negative thoughts, anxieties or fears, you are not alone. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help. We offer counseling services for anxiety as well as many other topics. We have a team of counselors who would love to help you with your next step. Contact us today.