News feeds and social media have become sources of constant stress for all of us over the past few days. So, how can we read the news, stay calm, and spot fake information? The HSE Media Practices Centre and Director Irina Makarova of the Centre for Psychological Counselling share some useful guidance.
You have to make sure that the information you see on social networks or in mass media is verified. This helps to avoid panic.
We have highlighted the following rules for consuming information:
How to verify information found on social media or news feeds
There is no universal answer. If it is important for you to keep up to date or if your work involves information, then follow the news. But if the news starts making you feel uncomfortable or unstable, you should spend less time reading and watching news and consume less information. There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation—decide for yourself based on your circumstances and feelings. If you are a very impressionable person and what you read only increases your anxiety and panic, then think about limiting how much news you read. If you're feeling panicked, overwhelmed by fear, and can't cope with simple household tasks, stop checking the news and give yourself a break.
‘News hygiene’ is important. Choose sources that you trust, ones that aren’t over-sensational or overemotional. Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a reliable source. Unfortunately, the information sphere is highly politicised, so we tend to choose media according to our political views. It is important to remember this. Set your own rules and don't forget to question the information you see. Mistakes do happen.
What should I do if I feel really bad about the news?
How do I know if I have a problem?
Eating and sleeping are basic indicators of whether we are OK. They are basic sources of energy. If you've been sleeping two hours a night, or if you've got insomnia, that's a warning sign. If your appetite has decreased dramatically, or if you can't stop eating, that is also a warning sign. This means that you need help. Depending on the complexity of the situation, consider seeing a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist.