Staying on top of the news has become a matter of survival. Unfortunately, the news shapes not just our knowledge, but also our emotional states. Exposure to too many negative news stories—and that seems like most of them, these days—can therefore affect your ability to digest information properly and make good decisions. This means that the negative tone and content of news, whether it’s in the paper or on television or online, can impair your ability to make informed choices.
The news cycle’s negativity can be particularly damaging when it makes you feel angry and fearful. Even in relatively low-stakes situations, emotion can cloud your logic. And in high-stakes situations, the problem becomes much worse, overtaxing your critical faculties. The endless negativity of the news cycle can also lead to physical stress in the body, which frequently results in symptoms like fatigue, sleep loss, and systemic inflammation.
Often (if not always), things are better than you think. To learn how to look for optimism in dark situations, check out our Instaread on Factfulness.