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No longer delivered in small, digestible portions in the morning paper or on the local evening broadcast, news is now a constant bombardment. Experts say this deluge contributes to the modern-day malady of information fatigue syndrome, a term coined in the 1990s by British psychologist David Lewis. Its symptoms include digestive problems, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction.
“The overwhelming amount of negative news affects our psyche,” says Mala Cunningham, founder and director of CardiacYoga in Charlottesville, Virginia, and assistant professor at the University of Virginia Medical School. “Even optimistic people can be influenced by the overwhelming negativity of the newsI think they can drop down into bordering on some level of pessimism about our world.”
Given the potential impact, you may want to observe how the news affects your thoughts, emotions, and breathing patterns, then decide how much news you really need. Here are some tips for reducing your exposure.
Limit your daily news intake to a few trusted sources.
Resist the urge to take in all the news that’s available, focusing instead on a few specific areas of interest.
Go on a periodic news fast that lasts a day, a weekend, or even longer. Instead, read inspirational books or spend some time in nature.