Take in the good news, too

Reading excessive negative news can harm your mental health.

Libby Hurwitz

Reading excessive negative news can harm your mental health.

The Lion's Tale Staff

Every day as news notifications pop up on our screens, they bombard us with tragedy. Whether it be school shootings, antisemitic incidents, catastrophic floods, tornadoes or the possibility of nuclear war, they are too frequent to ignore. These events are important and should be reported. However, for the sake of our mental states, we should also be getting a daily dose of good news. 

Media outlets are inclined to feed their audience negative news because it can increase viewership. “News has long centered on negative things because it engages our fear reflex and hence is generally more attention-grabbing,” according to The Guardian. Humans are hardwired to spot threats to our safety, so we are more likely to click on a negative headline than a positive one.  

This sequence of consuming negative news has led to almost 70% of Americans feeling overwhelmed by news content and 56% of American adults saying the media is a source of stress for them, as reported by The Washington Post. 

Establishing a balance between good and bad news can combat feelings of stress and anxiety. 

As students with a rigorous course load and plentiful extracurriculars, we should not further afflict our mental health with unnecessary anxiety about the world. In fact, reading positive news may lessen our stress levels and boost our daily moods. 

According to The Washington Post, intaking positive news can boost happiness and emotional resilience. Hence, they offer The Optimist, an email thread of inspirational stories twice a week. In addition, Good News Network is a website, app, newsletter and weekly podcast dedicated to publishing feel-good stories daily. Many mainstream news sources also have pages dedicated to positive news, such as Fox News and The Huffington Post. 

Since news keeps us informed as citizens, it is imperative that we don’t shy away from the grimmer news stories. However, heavy stories can be reported with a solution-based angle. For example, a story about a deadly car crash can include steps the local government will take to prevent accidents in that area. This method of journalism gives the audience a sense of optimism, hope and empowerment while giving them a brighter perspective on dark events. 

The Lion’s Tale promises to continue publishing relevant, balanced and timely articles pertaining to events in our community. But as much as we tend to latch onto the negative stories, it is crucial, for all of our sakes, that we strive to cover a variety of good and bad events as well. We will aim to celebrate the good in our community, from the students who raise money for Leukemia treatment to the teacher that is a professional salsa dancer. 

News doesn’t need to be either blindly optimistic or fatalistic. Here at the Lion’s Tale, we seek a balance.