Reading the news can be stress-inducing at the best of times. When the news is particularly worrying, many of us experience levels of anxiety so high that we can have difficulty coping. So how can we stay (reasonably) anxiety-free when the media bombards us with headlines that spook us?

Does the news get you down? In this Special Feature, we look at some ways to fight off related anxiety. It may seem as though we have entered an age of bad news. Every day for the past few years, newspapers and news websites have turned out stressful headlines full-blast.

There is news about wars and civic unrest, impending ecological disasters, failing economies, and violent, sad local events.

And — why not admit it? — though we aim to provide our readers with constructive, actionable content at Medical News Today, we, too, sometimes end up highlighting news that could be stressful.

While our intent is positive, to warn our readers about possible health dangers and empower our audience to avoid them, our content may sometimes lead to worry and anxiety.

So what can you do if what seems like a constant cycle of negative news throughout every media outlet is getting you down and interfering with your well-being?

In this Special Feature, we look at some tips for coping with the special kind of anxiety that can come from reading the news.

‘Headline stress disorder’?

While news cycle-related anxiety has probably existed for centuries, it became particularly obvious in 2016, a year packed with global events that polarized communities.

When people started reporting tension and anxiety that stemmed from feeling bombarded by alarming news headlines, some therapists came to describe this as its own phenomenon.

For example, therapist Steven Stosny, Ph.D., refers to it as “headline stress disorder” in an opinion piece for The Washington Post. He describes his personal experience with clients in whom the grueling news cycle triggered intense feelings of worry and helplessness, and he reports that this particularly affected female clients.


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