Consuming the news can activate the sympathetic nervous system, causing the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Hughes suggests that watching too much news contributes to increased anxiety levels. This anxiety can easily spread to other areas of life and make it difficult to concentrate, complete daily tasks, or relax as much as necessary. In the long term, this anxiety can affect mood, which could lead to feelings of depression.
According to experts, being exposed to negative news constantly activates the fight or flight response in the brain, and as a result, the rest of the body also reacts accordingly. Exposure to negative news tends to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. When these hormones are released constantly, you tend to experience anxiety, depression, or insomnia. Just imagine what it must feel like to watch movies full of adrenaline consecutively, without any rest.
That's what your body goes through when you're constantly exposed to the news. If you find that your news habit is affecting your relationship or well-being, some changes in the way you interact with the news may be helpful. As the media has adapted to media trends, the way people view, read and hear news has changed. However, other experts say that the effect that news has on a person's health varies from individual to individual.
While it's understandable to want to keep up with local and national news, especially when it comes to public health and safety guidelines, overconsumption of news can be an additional source of stress. In recent years, the news cycle has been flooded with breaking news headlines, from updates and protests over COVID-19, to political races and global conflicts. At a time when a news division's performance is measured by page views, engagement, and ratings, it's not unusual for media outlets to focus on disaster reporting rather than the positive news that emerges from these situations. And if the news you consume makes you nervous or worried and some would say that this is exactly the goal of much of the current coverage, it probably isn't doing your health any favors, he says.
When a city reporter from a Russian online news website decided to only give good news for one day, he lost two-thirds of his readers. However, one in 10 adults check the news every hour, and 20% of Americans report that they “constantly monitor their social media, which often exposes them to breaking news headlines, whether they like it or not. In an average week, more Australian news consumers get their news online (53%) than in print (25%). While these stories have been crucial in keeping the public informed about world events, Americans are starting to feel the price of news on their mental health.
While your brain may find the latest news fascinating, it's hard to argue that all of that news is truly enlightening. Obsessively scrolling through the news is bad for your health, as it can cause a constant state of worry and lead you to fear the worst outcome.