I’ve always dipped in and out of gyms, but like most, I’ve never really stuck around or been consistent. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I may have cracked it.
I’ve been going regularly for the last 6 months and really enjoying myself. I’ve even got into Pilates – but I’m not looking to get a pat on the back here (honest).
The Gym has 3 large TV screens in the changing rooms, all showing Sky News. Kay Burley is the lead when I arrive in the morning. The news is of public interest, so I get why they show it.
So I probably have 15 minutes of exposure to Sky News every time I go to the gym. And without fail, they are reporting “BREAKING NEWS”, in full capital letters on a strong yellow background.
Those two words, “Breaking News”, strike me with a feeling of fear, concern and anxiety. I immediately think “what on earth is going on now”. Let’s face it, it’s never good news.
This got me thinking about the news and how negative news in particular may be worsening our mental health. Studies have linked the consumption of bad news to increased distress, anxiety and depression, even when the news is relatively mundane.
And this is my problem. Most of the “Breaking News” they are reporting is incredibly mundane. Today’s example was “Marks & Spencer has warned of slowing sales due to the cost of living crisis.” Breaking News? Really?
The media we all consume can really have an impact on our thinking, behavior and emotions. I recognised it’s impact on me and have taken some steps to strike a balance between being informed by news media and not becoming overwhelmed:
- I limit my daily news by listening to a daily podcast called “The Smart 7” that gives me everything I need to know in 7 minutes, at 7am, 7 days a week (found here)
- In the evening, I will prefer to watch the local news, which for me is “Midlands Today”
- I buy one or two quality newspapers at a weekend. My favourite is the weekend edition of the inewspaper (The “What we learned this week” section is excellent)
- I purposely avoid the gym lockers closest to the TVs and Sky News
I now worry less, sleep better and have a more optimistic frame of mind.
You would not be human, I don’t think, if you didn’t experience some degree of uncertainty considering the global events.
So I encourage you to think about how you could effectively manage your media consumption. Notice how you feel both before and after the news. I am not saying to shut off the news entirely. I am suggesting finding the balance to help you stay up to date while also reducing your stress.
Just a thought. Let me know how you get on.