With so much uncertainty surrounding the current pandemic, it is easy to get swept up in the opinions of news outlets or friends on social media. Consuming too much news during this time could be damaging to your mental health. If you are trying to maintain sobriety during this time, the quality of information or lack thereof could further damage your progress, ultimately leading to triggers and relapse. This is why it is important to not only regulate your news intake, but be mindful of where your news is coming from.
News has always promoted itself as an outlet for what is happening in the world. However, in today’s age where anyone can share their opinion online, everybody is sounding off. With more time on your hands, it might be tempting to want to hop online to check the current state of affairs, thinking that maybe this time you will read something encouraging. As a result, you might find yourself reading something defeating, or you might get involved in an argument with another person over what is fact and what is fiction.
While it is easy to get wrapped up in online disagreements, it is also easy to lose sight of where you are getting your news. Aside from everybody being able to have an opinion online, there is also an abundance of news sources that pride themselves in being reputable sources—however, they often get things wrong, too. This is why you should always question their sources. Most articles will cite a source or a link to a video. It might be a good idea to look into these sources before reading an article. If there is no such source, then it is recommended to avoid the article.
Family and Friends
Likewise, even your closest family and friends—the people you trust—could be mistaken. Remember, they are experiencing the same fears and emotions as you; therefore, they might not be checking the source of where they are getting their news. You can stay a step ahead by first checking the source before allowing the fear or joy from said news to sink in. It is okay to challenge your family or friends by inquiring about where they heard such a story. “The internet” is not a feasible answer. So before getting drawn into their anxiety, remind yourself of their fear and evaluate the gravity versus the quality of what they are telling you, and take it with a grain of salt.
Another clue as to whether or not the article you are about to read has any credibility is to look at the headline. The success of online articles depends upon the number of page visits the site receives. One of the ways in which they generate more foot traffic is to use flashy, almost alarming headlines to catch your eye and get you to click on the link. Television news channels are guilty of this, too. One of the primary things to look out for is if the article uses terms like, “groundbreaking” or if they promote revolutionary solutions that somehow nobody else has thought of. It is wise to avoid such false confidence.
WHO Is the Best Source Right Now
The World Health Organization, or WHO, has provided some of the most accurate ways in which to face the current pandemic. They are able to attain inside information and have given the public the most up-to-date information and useful tips to help keep everyone safe. The WHO will offer something that most news sources will not, and that is straight talk. They do this by laying out all the details known so far, and examine how situations could progress and how you can help to prevent these progressions. As a result of so much misinformation, WHO has even launched a “Myth Buster” page. This is a place where you can come to compare information from another source with the WHO.
Can’t Handle Accurate Information
Oftentimes, you take to the internet to find reassurance. While you might not immediately find what you are looking for, most people will not stop until they find something that is in line with their point of view. While this might help to temporarily ease your mind, this might not be the best way to face what you are dealing with. The type of straight talk the WHO is known for could also create stress—especially if it is not the news you want to hear. This is why it is good to focus on doing what you can to protect your health and recovery.
If you are finding that the news has taken over a large portion of your day, instead of contributing to the fear and anxiety, simply disconnect. Delete apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook from your phone. Limit yourself online time by only using a desktop or laptop to access the internet. It has been shown that by eliminating the ease of using your phone and forcing the extra step of setting up a laptop or sitting at a desktop can be enough to deter you from getting online at all.
The real effort is to question and cut toxic news out of your day. Remember, everybody is currently experiencing fear and anxiety similar to yours. Practice using the tools that work for you—exercise, mindfulness, meditation, or keep a journal—this way, you can better evaluate and enter situations responsibly. If you are still struggling, True Recovery is here to help. True Recovery is built on a foundation of finding the best information that will support the right kind of care that you need. For more information please call us today at (866)-399-6528.