Watching-the-News Anxiety

October 3, 2012 Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

I know I feel it, the cantankerous anxiety that seeps into my soul when I watch the news. How with every murder report, every bomb, every child drowning, every political mudsling; my faith in the future shrivels up a bit. My helplessness fills to the brim.

So what is the answer? Not watch it? Avoid all negativity? Pretend it doesn't exist?


Should You Avoid Watching the News?

Avoiding what is hard is not the answer. When we watch the news, our anxiety swells. Because the horrible accounts make us feel stressed and helplessly vulnerable, they trigger a biological fear response. We feel the energy of our hormone release surging under our skin. But we are not in danger in that moment in our living room.

Having Control

We have to remember that it is our helplessness that increases our anxiety, rather than imminent danger. So if we feel like we can do something to change the world, or to change our city and community, or even to change our family or our selves, this will counter the anxiety.

After acting, we will begin to sense that we have some control over circumstances in this world. We may not be able to control everything that happens, but we do control our response to everything that happens. (Often this effects what happens next.)

And that is what matter more than anything. How we respond effects how we feel far more than what happened.

We hear about a person dying and we tell our partner we love him, we hear about war and we go hug our children. We write to a soldier, sponsor a child to go to school, donate money to Red Cross, visit a nursing home, write to a congress person, send a condolence card, donate a hard hat, write an article to spread awareness, protest an injustice, plant some seeds, check on a friend, pray, educate ourselves, register to vote, boycott, make a video, share some food, feel compassion, forgive someone, love an enemy.

Don't just watch the news, watch the news and act! You'll feel more full of love and purpose and less full of anxiety, I promise.

Do you watch or avoid the news?

By Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
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APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, October 3). Watching-the-News Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

October, 3 2012 at 3:39 pm

This is a hard one for me Jodi...I try to avoid watching the news and even though there are times when I have become 'active' in some of the ways you suggested (raising awareness, becoming involved in a charity or signing petitions etc), it is still overwhelming at times.
I choose to read my news online and not watch it on TV as sometimes the images give me nightmares!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 3 2012 at 4:01 pm

This is awesome, keep abreast, take action. Really, Kirri, who better than us? Us, folks who are trying to help people, we need to know how to process God-awful things, or we can't be healers. So we do it at our own paste. Actually i read it mostly bc for me I am informed faster this way...

aronnasia white
September, 26 2014 at 4:35 am

Hi I'm 16 years old with anxiety I watch the news everyday I get shortage of breath and I even did research and it can cause me to have a heart attack I recently have twitches every minutes then I suddenly cry cause I think I'm going crazy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
September, 28 2014 at 1:21 pm

Watching the news can cause a lot of anxiety. The media, more often than not, focuses almost entirely on bad news. I sincerely recommend to stop watching the news. Using some of the tips in my blog have helped me and others. Please be well and thank you for reading and commenting. ~Gabe ((Hugs))

Tina Barbour
October, 4 2012 at 1:10 pm

I'm a newspaper reporter, so I have to keep up with the news to a certain extent. I find it all overwhelming sometimes. I love your suggestions of some of the things we can do in response to what we learn in the news. Thank you!

Kellie Holly
October, 4 2012 at 4:16 pm

Jodi, during my abusive marriage the news scared the bejeebers out of me. I think I transferred what I was anxious about deep down (the abuse) onto the news. The news, and my inability to correct the wrongs I witnessed, gave me a valid excuse for feeling anxious, insecure, and hyper-aware.
I'm glad that part of my life is over. However, I do avoid the news in general, choosing to keep up with politics, law-making, and domestic violence primarily. There's enough to tick me off in those three topics without provoking anxiety. After all, I feel empowered to change those aspects of the news.
Great ideas for acting on anxiety. Acting is the quickest way to erase fear causing anxiety. Nike is on to something. Just do it!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 8 2012 at 5:24 am

Thanks Kellie! I agree! You do some great action and so many people benefit from it!

October, 8 2012 at 4:53 am

I find it most helpful for me to read the news online from a couple of different news sites. I can watch the news occasionally, but consistently causes me problems. By reading the news I can be selective on what I read. I don't bury my head in the sand on important issues I'm just careful how much I read of them on days when I need to be more careful. I find myself reading a lot of headlines and choosing the articles that I deem really important. It works for me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 8 2012 at 5:22 am

You have a great plan there! Do you find yourself responding in any other way?

Dr Musli Ferati
October, 10 2012 at 1:30 am

To be honest, your recommendation to control our response to stressful news indicates great helping in managing adequately common live event trauma. This psycho-social skill prevents to grow up in magic circle of anxiety disorder as most frequent mental illness. Our reaction to any traumatic news should be in concordance with concrete live circumstances whatsoever they are. Otherwise we would to face with counteracting outcomes of social milieu as predictor to respective running of life events. In this direction, it ought to be realistic counter system of values that determines the interpersonal relations. No everywhere, our intentions and thoughts go in accordance with environmental parameters. So, we often should to acting in opposite of our instant will. This suggestion is preferable to take in consideration before to undertake any activity, as response of unpleasant news.The options are numerous, but our choice should be in accord with our life affinities and psycho-social conditions. In consequences, it must to recognize deeply itself, because we couldn't change life events either they are traumatic ones. Respecting this principal rules, we would to soften in some measure common stressful news.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 10 2012 at 7:03 pm

Thanks Dr. Musli! We do't want to soften too much, we want to change how things are!

Assisted Living Directory
October, 10 2012 at 11:12 am

Jodi, our family decided years ago to not have cable TV. Part of the reason is the caustic, constant feed of anxiety-producing "news" that does nothing other than to cause fear and anxiety. There's plenty of good things that happen every day but network news will almost always opt for the murder, shooting or drama.
Instead, we pick comedies on netflix and things that make us smile.
Our 5 or so year news-fast will continue!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 10 2012 at 7:07 pm

Yes, I realize with all of these comments that I don't "watch the news either, but keep up with it by reading. I try to find real news sources, too, not our propaganda stuff. I also watch tons of comedies. But if something horrific happens I do not ignore it like I used to.

November, 3 2012 at 8:02 pm

I have been a "news addict" for very long. It started when I was only 8 years old. I needed to know all what happens and where it was happening. I stayed like that for maybe 30 years, feeling helpless and being angry at myself for not being able to stop "the bad" things to happen. It's true that when I made myself useful in helping others, I used to feel better. I still feel the need to check the news, but I make a lot of efforts not to do it much.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 4 2012 at 3:44 pm

It all gets repeated anyway. You can do it once in a while and still keep up.

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June, 5 2013 at 10:22 am

Unfortunately it is the uncontrollable that have become a trigger for me. I wish that you could witness just one instance of good news. Much of what we see now is hints of an impending cataclysm. Political and social collapse of societies, sever water and food crisis for the upcoming generations, looming war, and economic instability. While I try my best to do my part and be a caring helpful individual it still doesn't change the fact that I can never make such a large scale impact. It has always been a part of me to try to make things better or to fix things. What is one person supposed to do against such insurmountable odds?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 5 2013 at 6:31 pm

Find the do-able in them, Joshua. One person can save the world, its a ripple effect. Step towards how you want to be in the world. And don't stop! Live your life with purposeful hope, and youwill have succeeded.

April, 5 2016 at 12:38 pm

I agree that the bad news causes me anxiety and changes my mood I don't watch it but what about the boards outside shops they usually have scary headlines and I was listening to the radio and the news came on about an horrific attack on a vulnerable person by girls. I was in my friend's car so couldn't do anything about it I had to listen to all the sordid details which greatly upset me I think there ought to be laws stopping the intricacys of crime it makes me feel angry that my mood is forcefully changed in this way .

John Snow
June, 30 2022 at 8:10 am

Not watching the news makes you ignorant of how the world is changing so when you are forced to learn what has changed it will cause even greater anxiety.

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