Doctor Love: No News is Good News
Sunday, October 16th, 2016
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Dear Doctor Love,
I find myself becoming more and more depressed as I read and watch the news stories from around the world today. The beating of women, murders, molestation of children, abuse of animals and rage against everything is overwhelming. These horrible things are staying with me and sometimes they can keep me sad for the whole day and I cannot sleep at night. I cannot stop reading the stories and then I cannot seem to get them out of my mind. What can I do to feel better? The depression is really affecting my job and my family.
/s/No News Is Good News
Dear No News,
You can take heart in knowing that you are not alone in the way you feel. Medical studies have been published confirming that negative news can and does have an impact on mental health and well being. We are bombarded with political upheaval, racial tension, and natural disasters every day and our human brain is wired to have an exaggerated reaction to negativity. News sources know this and use it to draw bigger audiences. A deadly plane crash gets the front page because this image plays on our fear of pain and death. The child murdered at the hands of a parent intensifies our already heightened aversion to abuse of an innocent. Seeing a hurricane ravaged landscape can trigger fear and depression because our natural response is to begin to prepare for disaster before it happens to us. Understanding these very natural responses to negative news can help you avoid the anxiety and depression that results from watching terrible news stories. Here are a few ways to feel better: Refocus your mind on positive stories like medical advancements or communities coming together after a disaster to help each other. Get outside and walk. Thirty minutes a day in the sunshine is a great way to lift your spirits. Eat green and yellow vegetables along with fish. Your body will respond favorably to the vitamin D and Omega 3’s. Spend time with positive minded friends and loved ones. Volunteer at your local animal shelter or school. Most of all do not dwell on negatives. Sing. Dance. Make funny faces. But make a determined effort to push out the bad thoughts each time they come to mind instead of allowing them to take root. Should you find yourself not able to get beyond the depression alone, see a church pastor or medical doctor for help in succeeding to overcome these feelings. You can do it.
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