COVID-19: How to read the news less

27 March 2020

Constantly reading the news on COVID-19 can trigger a lot of anxiety. But just telling someone "read the news less" is like saying to someone "just don't worry about it." That's not how anxiety works.

In this episode, we will break down why we read the news so much, the meta-beliefs that underpin this behaviour, and a practical way to make a change so that you spend less time-consuming coronavirus news.

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Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Hey, it's Chris back with an a Verba video podcast. He thinks about coed 19 in today's episode, I want to talk about how to read the news less cause a lot of us with anxiety tend to obsessively check the news and just read everything. We can go through all the news reports, get free Reddit, go through all the communities, go through Facebook, everything just to get as much information as possible. And we kind of know that it's not good for us, that it fuels the anxiety, but it's really hard not to, right? People just say, Oh read the news last, but, but how? Because it's just really difficult to stop ourselves. And so here I want to explore what's going on and look at some real practical, implementable strategies to help us with the news a little less. So let's look at the fear of anxiety.


Speaker 1 (00:59):

Let's look at what's going on. And what's happening is that your lower brain is saying there is a frat tear, there is, you should be panicking. There's this disease you need to keep yourself safe. And what happens is then the higher echelons of our brain go into problem solving mode. That's why we've got the higher brain functions. They can think abstractly, they can solve problems and so when our frat detection system goes off the Egypt's go into problem solving mode and we've probably got a bunch of Metta beliefs there, right? That in order to make the best decisions that we need as much information as possible that it all needs to be up to date. We need to gather it all in because the more we know the better decision we were able to make and the better decision we'll be able to make that will keep us safe.


Speaker 1 (01:47):

And so that will satiate our, for it detection system, if we can show that we've got all the information, we've made the best decision. And so typically when this happens we keep reading the news, we keep looking for new information so that we can make that better decision and so we can keep increasing the quality of our decision thinking that that will make our threat detection system so enough. But we have high anxiety threat detection system just keeps firing. That's why it's anxiety just keeps going and going. So if you have these beliefs that you, even if that's subconscious that you need all this information, you need to keep teeth in the news to keep you safe, then of course you're going to keep reading like that. That's not your brain being broken. That's just what our rational brain would do given the axioms that reading all this information keeps you safe and lights you make better decisions and that keeps you alive.


Speaker 1 (02:45):

So instead of fighting this, instead of just trying to make you say, right, I'm just going to cut the news out and try and force yourself to do this, because that's going to be really hard when your fraud detection system is firing and telling you that you need to read the news to stay alive. What we want to do is we want to collude a little with the anxiety and we want to say, okay, I have this subconscious belief that I do need to read the news so that I can stay informed. And I mean it is good to stay informed with the latest government advice. Then how about we make a deal with our anxiety and we say, okay, need to read it. So I will make a deal with you and say, we will stay informed, but we're only going to do it twice a day.


Speaker 1 (03:34):

So when we get up at 8:00 AM and when we finish work, say at 5:00 PM those are the two times a day we're going to check the news. And when we go there, we're going to look for practical information. The things we need to do to keep us safe, has the social distancing policy change. Is there anything new we need to do? And that's all we're gonna look for. We're not going to look at any of the fluff, any of the panic coverage, any of the rolling live updates with Joe. It's going to look for that information. We're going to spend five, 10 minutes looking at that and then once we got that information, the stuff that we need to keep us safe, then no more. We're going to turn it off and we're not going to look again until the next of those two points.


Speaker 1 (04:18):

Doing this means that we're not fighting and sees really deep subconscious beliefs that we need to stay informed because we're allowing ourselves that specific time to stay informed and stay safe. At the same time, we're not allowing ourselves to endlessly troll off hours of stuff that makes us feel really anxious. So if you are struggling to read the news last, make a deal with yourself, make a deal with your anxiety and say, right, I'm only going to read it these times for this specific purpose of staying form for the stuff I need to do to keep myself and my family safe and anything else I'm going to cut out and try that rather than just trying to brute force your way over your anxiety because that's really hard. Hopefully that's some use to you. If it is, then please hit subscribe and making more of these code with 19 little help videos to help us all reduce our anxiety doing this pandemic and I will see you again soon.

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