Watching the News is a Damaging Habit You Should Break

You know it’s true.

Kyle Chastain


Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash

I once had co-worker who spent his all spare time reading and watching the news. He could tell you anything about current events, politics, and celebrity gossip — but he was the most unhappy person I’ve ever known.

My coworker, like many of us, turned to the news for entertainment and information. Instead, he got a daily dose of anger, stress, and depression.

Seeing how my coworker’s daily news consumption affected him confirmed my suspicion: watching the news isn’t good for your mental or emotional health.

There’s too much happening in the world for you to stay on top of every current event. There’s always another political scandal, tragedy, or celebrity gossip popping up on the screens we keep in front of our faces. The urge to stay “informed” on everything is often more about fitting in or getting the approval of others.

If you haven’t guessed, I don’t watch the news — at least not regularly. That may come as a shock, and you might even be mad and want to call me “uninformed” or “selfish.” But if taking care of my happiness and mental health is selfish, I’m guilty as charged.

I’m betting your life could be a little happier with less news in it, too.

Two unavoidable problems caused by news

I don’t watch the news for the same reasons some people don’t bother with social media — it doesn’t make me better.

Conversely, my life is better because I don’t regularly watch the news. Why? Because there are two major problems with news today:

  1. It’s always available
  2. It’s always negative and extreme

First, with endless headlines available at our fingertips, we become doomscrolling zombies who feed off of our next dopamine hit. Writers and editors have known for years that negative headlines get more attention that positive headlines.

For example, which of these headlines will get more clicks?

  1. Weather Update: Dangerous Storms all Weekend
  2. Weather Update: Beautiful Weather all Weekend