We need to stay informed. But we also need to be aware of the effect that constant exposure to bad news has on our brains. It’s hard enough to prevent a brain hijack these days without throwing the doors wide open to fear, sadness, and anger 24 hours each day.
The pesky narrative in our minds says, “I need to know everything. I need to know it as soon as it happens. That will help me control my life, to protect myself.”
If you’re on the frontlines of this crisis, that could be true. But for most of us, constant immersion is neither necessary nor helpful. If anything, it focuses us on things we can’t control anyway.
So here’s a simple practice for this pandemic: media portion control. Choose a time limit for your consumption of news each day. Set a timer and stick to it. You may be surprised by how little really changes day to day.
This will be challenging at first. When you’re tempted to check the news again during the day,use that compulsion as a trigger to be present, to breathe, to rest, to enjoy something right where you are.
You only need to know enough right now to be your best self in this place at this moment. Everything else is a distraction.