While the media plays an important role in providing details of the aftermath of tragic events, too much exposure to traumatic media events can have a negative impact on our well-being.
According to Laura Drury, MSW, LICSW, Director of Clinical Social Services at Butler Hospital, research shows an association between watching media coverage of traumatic events and increased symptoms of stress. She says, "The amount of media we are exposed to is something that is within our control, and the best strategy to minimize the impact on us is to limit the number of hours we watch or to simply turn off the TV."
A few more tips to minimize media-related stress:
- Talk to friends, family and people you trust as a means of gathering information and processing your feelings. These can be good alternatives to direct exposure to traumatic news.
- Limit exposure especially prior to bedtime so that your sleep is not negatively affected.
- Read newspaper or journal articles with fewer graphic images than TV.
- If you want to improve your overall well-being, use the time you used to spend watching TV news programs for other activities that make you feel good, like exercising, meditating, spending time with family or friends, etc.
Finally, if you want to do something positive to help people who were directly impacted by the tragic event, look to a reputable organization that is assisting victims and their family members who were directly affected and make a donation or offer to volunteer wherever your services are needed.
If you have any tips to share about how you manage media-relates stress, please share on Butler Hospital's Facebook page. They may help others, too!