Categories
Personal Politics

Staying informed without becoming overwhelmed

overwhelmed
Photo credit: Elizabeth M

Trying to keep up with all of the news coming out of the United States may be driving me insane. It’s overwhelming, maddening and much of what I read makes me simultaneously furious, frightened and deeply sad.

But it’s important to keep informed, now more than ever. To tune out is to let the forces of authoritarianism and fascism win.

How, then, to pay attention without becoming overwhelmed? How does one keep an eye on the news without negatively affecting one’s mental health?

I’m not entirely sure of the right answer, but I’ve come up with an approach that may work. The challenge will be to actually stick to it.

Focus on analysis

As the article “How to Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed by Your Newsfeed” notes, there’s a difference between being informed and being immersed. The former is vital. The latter is potentially unhealthy. Rather than allowing myself to be constantly immersed in the latest breaking news, I’m going to try and stick to reading thoughtful, informed analysis of the day’s events.

This will be difficult for me, as I tend to check the news multiple times throughout the day. But if I can resist the tempation to read the news every hour, I think I’ll be better off. I’ll avoid some of the outrage. I’ll avoid some of the wild speculation I’m seeing on social media. And, when I do check the news, what I’ll be reading will be more in-depth and informed analysis of what’s happened that day.

I’ve noticed what I read early in the morning and later in the evening tends to be of higher quality than what I read throughout the workday.

If I stick to checking the news mainly before work and after D has gone to bed, I may just maintain my sanity without losing track of what the US regime is doing to destabilize world order and push us closer to the brink of war.

Hopefully, by focusing on analysis I’ll also be able to stay focused on the bigger picture and maybe even do something to prevent things from getting worse.

4 replies on “Staying informed without becoming overwhelmed”

That sounds great!! I am going to try to follow that schedule too. Also, if I do make a comment, I will try not to bother checking back – no point in getting into an argument with someone who isn’t going to change their mind.

Not checking back after leaving a comment is interesting. I might give that a try, too, if I find myself getting into a lot of fights online. But, for now, for me, I’ll check back. I leave comments to have a discussion (usually). But it doesn’t always work. People aren’t always civil when they disagree.

I think there’s something to be said for taking a break from the firehose information that is Twitter or Facebook not because it’s overwhelming but because there’s a temptation to think that by merely keeping up with the news I am accomplishing something, when in fact I’m not. Staying current with everything that is going on in the world takes a lot of effort and it is tempting to confuse expending that effort with activism. By taking in news in chunks, after the fact, after there is time for real analysis and all the fake news and rumors have boiled away, I think you are in a better position to form an actual strategy to do something real in the world.

That’s a really good point. Consuming huge amount of information and then yelling about it on Facebook can certainly feel like it’s making a difference. It can seem like you’re reaching people and, like you say, it’s a lot of work so it must be worthwhile, right?

Comments are closed.