News Anxiety- Saving Yourself From Exhaustion
And it's not just because of the U.S. election, although that is certainly part of it.
This is not a newsletter about politics.
But it would be remiss of me if I didn't point out that there is a political component to mental health.
Political decisions can impact access to mental health care.
Political bickering can impact a person's emotions and thoughts.
And politics can divide people before they've even had a chance to get to know each other.
But I'm not tired about that.
I'm feeling exhausted about something else, and I think I finally know what it is.
News Anxiety - When Modern Culture Warps Your Mind
Over the past decade, there have been massive changes in the ways we communicate information.
The Internet distills information and then chops it up, sending bite-sized soundbites and video clips to finely targeted groups of individuals.
It's great for Internet marketers, but it has a deleterious impact on the general public.
Because decent individuals can become polarized and brainwashed without even realizing it.
This can happen based on a number factors. But possibly the most impactful factor stems from the little Internet boxes people build for themselves, carefully polished cubes that contain only information of interest for the people residing in said cubes.
This tiny-echo-chamber effect is amplified by other forms of media, whether its talk radio or cable TV, social media livestream or an email newsletter like this one.
The end result, if you're not careful, is a massive influx of one-sided information.
And I think that's why I'm so tired.
Because who really knows what they're talking about?
Who can be trusted and who can't?
Who's taken the time to do research, and who's just making it up as they go?
And does it even matter?
These are the questions that race through my mind as I try to make sense of elections, current events, and just interactions in general between people holding different viewpoints.
Now, I'm not a perfect person. I have my biases just like everyone else. But the important thing is that I try to acknowledge them, learn about them as much as I can, and, ultimately, improve upon them.
My fear is that the world is starting to accept bias at face value without really considering if what they see tells the whole story.
Because that's what it takes to have good mental health.
It requires taking a balanced approach in how you act and feel. It's hard to live in a world of constant extremes.
Sure, it might be fun to ride on a rollercoaster for 3 minutes, but the effects can be devastating to your body and mind if the rollercoaster never stops.
Political Anxiety, News Anxiety, or N/A?
Call it what you want--news anxiety, political anxiety, or some other flavor of modern culture warping mental health.
The reality is that good people suffer when we focus on what's extreme and sensational without considering the real, underlying impacts on mental health and mental illness.
So, today, I feel tired.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it has a lot to do with the phenomenon I just described.
And so I'm taking time to step back and remove myself from the media / political whirlwind.
It's something I've learned to do whenever the world becomes too much in general.
If you're feeling tired at this very moment, I encourage you to do the same.
If it helps to step back and then reach out to others, you can do that too.
Listen to what your body and mind need.
In a world of extremes, there's nothing wrong with seeking the flat roads of the vast plains.
In fact, it's crucial to balance out towering mountains with calm pastures.
There wouldn't be one without the other.