“The outbreak of an epidemic” “Devastating threats by ISIS” “Boko Haram kills scores” “The stock market drops drastically” “Boy stabs father to death” “Domestic violence” “Political crisis” these are some of the headlines we hear or see once we turn on our television or radio sets to the news channel or flip pages of newspapers; sometimes it seems like all the news media has to divulge is BAD NEWS. The world is becoming so terrible that bad things happen every minute, and thanks to technological advances, we are prompt to get a load down of these mishaps the exact minute they are happening.
Ergo, this poses the question, ‘All These Negative Media Stories Coupled with Real Life Situations, How Do They Affect the Human Health?’
Bad news can take a toll on the health of a person. Viewing news about tragedy can be distressing and upsetting and experiencing such negative feeling in the light of such messages can interfere with normal body functioning. Such a person begins to experience a great deal of post traumatic stress disorder characterized with depression, anxiety, fear, a general sense of insecurity, irrational beliefs, pessimism, helplessness and loss of hope.
Dr Travis stork (an American emergency physician and host of the award winning television show ‘The Doctors’) explained that, during the process of listening to all these negative news, your hypothalamus triggers your pituitary gland which triggers your adrenal gland to release in higher levels cortisol ‘the stress hormone’ (it is an adrenal-cortex hormone whose levels in the blood become elevated in response to physical or psychological stress. It suppresses the immune system, decreases bone formation and aids the metabolism of fat, carbohydrate and protein. It is responsible for several stress related changes in the body).
Moreover, your systematic system causes you to release adrenaline which causes your heart rate to go up and your blood pressure to rise thus affecting your breathing rate and your digestion.
Going through these process everyday can begin to cause physical symptoms which at first are mild and dismissive, like chronic headaches and increased susceptibility to cold, however, serious health problems may develop which could have a fatal long lasting effect on your body and psychological well-being.
Does this mean we should avoid bad news altogether? No it doesn’t. We need to stay informed so that we can be prepared; continue reading the news, but do yourself a favor, read a good story for every bad one you read. For example, if you read about a recent bombing, turn over to the sports section and read about your favorite football team, do not barrage your mind with many negative stories.
Likewise, keep calm while watching or reading about a tragic chaotic event, when you feel yourself getting anxious, take deep breaths and relax. Also, you can pick a form of media that makes bad news less distressing, Dr Stork suggested the print media, thus you can have control over what and when you are reading it and can feel less anxious unlike the television media which bombards a person with gory motion pictures causing more anxiety.
Furthermore, Stay close to friends and family as these could help to put the mind at rest knowing that they are alright. Finally, help to spread beauty in the face of all the ugliness, make someone happy in any way you can.
Conclusively, being optimistic does not solve problems; see the world for what it really is and be very careful.
written by Ivharue Ofe