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We all like to stay connected via social media outlets and the news. However, this can come at a cost in regards to our daily mood and well being. Have you ever been scrolling through the news, instagram or facebook and noticed that your mood has taken a turn for the worse? If, so you’re not alone. A 2017 Pew Research Center study found that 69% of U.S. adults are social media users (Pew Research Center, 2017). Another study found that people who watched 14 minutes of negative news material had an increase in anxiety and depression compared to a group who watched positive or neutral material (Johnston, 1997). Below are a list of ways to stay connected to others and to recent events in the news without having as much of an impact on your mood:

  • Mindfulness of your mood - Before consuming social media or the news check in to see how you are feeling. If you are noticing that you are already anxious or your mood is low try deep breathing, getting outside or a mindfulness activity before consuming social media or the news, which can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Mindfulness of your thoughts - If you are on social media and comparing yourself to others, or watching the news and becoming fearful of how the stories are impacting you, turn inward to check with yourself if these events are having an impact on you directly. Ask yourself if it is causing a problem or a worry. A problem can be defined as something that is currently happening to you and you are able to come up with solutions for. A worry is when the mind focuses on future anxiety, worry or uncertainty that has yet to occur.
  • Set time boundaries - Be mindful about how much time you are spending consuming news or social media. Try to limit yourself to 30 minutes to an hour a day. Also, you can break up the time throughout the day and limit time at night which can impact your sleep.
  • Be a part of a healthy online or news community - Find a healthy and supportive community of news outlets that are reporting the facts and not sensationalizing stories to get viewership. Interact only with those individuals or groups on social media who share helpful and positive messages.
  • Be mindful of comparisons -While you are consuming the news or social media, be mindful and ask yourself if you are comparing yourself to others or making connections to others. Peers on social media may seem like they are enjoying a wonderful life, but remember that social media is highly curated. People post the positive highlights in their life, not their everyday struggles. These people are more than likely struggling with many of the same problems you are.

In conclusion, using the tips above can help you stay connected to current events and to others without negatively affecting your mental health. By continuing to track your mood daily, you can measure the impact the news and social media is having on you. To set up an appointment with a licensed therapist, please contact our front office line at 440-392-2222.

“Record shares of Americans now own smartphones, have home broadband.”
Pew Research Center. 2017

Johnston WM, Davey GC.
The psychological impact of negative TV news bulletins: The catastrophizing of personal worries.
Br J Psychol. 1997;88 ( Pt 1):85-91. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1997.tb02622.x


Stephanie Cerula, LPCC
Clinical Counselor, The Behavioral Wellness Group

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The Behavioral Wellness Group is a counseling center providing therapy and behavioral health services and assessment including chemical dependency/drug addiction treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and other therapies. We also provide mental health or psychological assessments, and psychological,educational and bariatric testing. Providing services to the following communities in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake County: Cleveland, Ashtabula, Beachwood, Chardon, Concord, Eastlake, Euclid, Fairport, Geneva, Grand River, Highland Heights, Kirtland, Leroy, Lyndhurst, Madison, Mayfield, Mayfield Heights, Painesville, Pepper Pike, Perry, Russell, Solon, South Euclid, Thompson, Wickliffe, Willoughby, Willoughby Hills, and Willowick, from our offices in Mentor, Ohio.