Dear Dr. Lisa,
I feel like my news notifications are constantly bombarding me with upsetting and divisive political campaigns all day, every day taking a toll on my well-being. How can I filter through all of this and figure out which information to trust?
What a great question! This is of course an election year and with campaigns getting more and more technologically savvy there is very few areas we can escape the constant cycle of news. With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram basically running the information sources, it can be hard to navigate through what is quality information and what is opinion and rhetoric. First and foremost, this is a time to engage and lean into your core values. Whether you are politically left, right, or center is often issue based and shouldn’t alienate us from having an open mind and heart to others personally. With social media, the goal is to unite and band together people based on preferences, Be aware that you could be funneled into an artificial one sided news cycle through information from these platforms.
It is truly the information age and any opinion we want to hear or see is just a click away. This is amazing, but also overwhelming even to me! The constant drip of thoughts, opinions, and information can actually be a cause of stress and anxiety for people because it can alienate us from feeling accepted and potentially in a position to rethink basic friendships due to posts that may not resonate well with us.
It is important to remember that the amazing thing about living in America is that everyone is entitled to their opinions and are able to express those opinions in any way that is not harmful to others. Choose who you follow for credible news sources thoughtfully and do some due diligence in what outlets you choose to pay attention to. I recommend following trusted news sources, such as Fox News, CNN, BBC and the Wall Street Journal versus more trendy news outlets or online sites that don’t have journalistic standards. Turn off the notifications and only review news at your convenience, not when they think it is a good time for you to hear the news.
Living in the information age is incredible, but we must arm ourselves with the proper tools and understand how to navigate the choppy waters of social media, news outlets, and influencers who are trying to build a following. It is key to remember that not all that is posted on social media is trustworthy and we must take it upon ourselves to decide who to follow and what news to give credit to.