Wednesday 16 February 2022

What happened when I stopped constantly checking the news

In December I wrote about the ways that my phone makes me anxious, a mind dump about the anxiety that I have related to my phone. In particular I had become hooked on constant news checking throughout the day, scrolling and refreshing, always looking for an update. At my PC I was always clicking over to open a new window full of headlines. 

I had hundreds of different news stories running around in my head, I was wasting a lot of time, and I was feeling the interruption to my concentration every time I even thought about checking the news, let alone actually doing it. 

In January, one of my new habits was to put a firm stop to the obsessive news checking. I wouldn't avoid the news entirely, but the only exceptions were viewing links that had been sent to me directly and only intentional watching of a dedicated news broadcast on television. 

So for the year so far I've not opened up a news app on my phone or accessed a news website through a browser. I've watched an occasional news broadcast and kept up with the headlines through conversations with others and very brief forays into social media. 

What happened?

I didn't miss any important news stories, and nor did I feel like I was missing out. I still heard about the main news stories through conversation with my husband, but I heard about them after the fact, not through constant tiny updates. 

I seemed to have much more time during the day. Cutting down on my Facebook and Twitter time helped with this as well. During this extra time I picked up a book and I created rather than consumed - writing blog posts or working on my craft projects.

My anxiety was definitely lessened. I didn't feel so on edge and I didn't feel so attached to my phone. I usually leave my phone in another room now, and having it out of sight means that I can forget about it.

I feel that my concentration had improved. I have been able to concentrate more easily on longer books. I am also quite happy to just sit and look out the window or stare into space if I find myself with a few minutes to spare.

I'm very happy with this change and I'm really hoping that I can keep it up - I know just how easy it is to get sucked back into addictive smartphone behaviours!

If this is something that you've been thinking about I can recommend this article which really made me think - News is bad for you - and giving up reading it will make you happier.

Person scrolling on phone
Photo credit via Unsplash

1 comment:

  1. During the lockdowns I got like that, looking at the news all of the time and it stressed me out. I made a rule of just watching one new broadcast a day, usually at 6pm and then just picked up stories on social media. It did wonders for my mental health. It's good to know what's going on in the world but sometimes it can be too much. x


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