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Overwhelmed by bad news? Tips to cope with endless headlines

If you’ve scrolled through the news headlines recently and have felt like everything is doom and gloom, you aren’t alone. News fatigue is real and it can take a toll on your mental health if you let it.

There’s a lot to be concerned about right now: COVID-19, endless wildfires and the potential for a disastrous flu season, for starters. These issues are dominating news cycles, so it can be easy to get caught up in reading only negative news. Looking for something more positive? Tap or click here for a show made up of only good news.

There’s even a term for the habit of endlessly consuming bad news. It’s called “doomscrolling” — and it can be a hard one to break. There are a few ways you can stop doomscrolling and start finding the headlines that aren’t all doom and gloom, though. Let’s take a look.

How to stop the doomscrolling cycle

Feeling worn out by bad news that lands in your inbox or on the sites you frequent? So are most Americans. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of Americans (66%) feel worn out by the amount of news there is, while far fewer (32%) say they like the amount of news they are getting.

The funny thing is there’s plenty of positive and uplifting news out there, but you might be overlooking most of it. You need to break the habit of only clicking on negative headlines. There are a few ways to do that, including:

Use Endless Doomscroller

The first tactic for breaking the habit is using the Endless Doomscroller website. This simple site shows an endless list of generic, ominous headlines. You can scroll and scroll to your heart’s content through headlines like “New Restrictions are Coming” or “Experts Say It’s Getting Exponentially Worse.”

Doing this will get your fill of those generic, negative headlines you have been ingesting on a regular basis. The more important point, though, is Endless Doomscrolling can also help you recognize that you don’t need to look for just bad news. There’s more news out there — and some of it may even be, dare we say, happy?

Related: What you need to know about political ads in 2020

Put the phone down

One of the main ways to put the kibosh on doomscrolling is to just put the phone down for a while. That may seem like a simple way to resolve the issue, but having instant access to negative headlines via your smartphone makes it easy to fall into bad habits.

Adjust your news notifications

You can also adjust the news push notifications you get and the content of the news you see. You don’t have to shut off your notifications — you just need to change the settings for your news alerts.

How to adjust Google News notifications on Android and Apple

  1. On your mobile device, open the Google News app.
  2. At the top right, tap your photo.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Under “Alerts,” tap Notifications.
  • To stop all notifications, turn off Get notifications.
  • To choose what type of notifications you get, next to each notification type, turn notifications on or off.

How to adjust news app notifications on Android:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps & Notifications.
  3. Under “Recently sent,” find apps that recently sent you notifications.
  4. To find more apps, tap See all.
  5. Tap Advanced.
  6. You can turn off all notifications for a listed app.
  7. To pick specific categories of notifications, tap the app’s name.

How to adjust news app notifications on Apple:

  1. Swipe left over an alert or group of alerts from your lock screen or Notification Center.
  2. Tap Manage, then select from these options: 
  • Deliver Quietly: These notifications appear in the Notification Center, but don’t show up on the Lock screen, play sounds, or show a banner or badge icon.
  • Turn Off: This turns off all notifications for a specific app. To turn this back on, go to Settings > Notifications, select the app, and tap Allow Notifications.
  • Note: You can also tap Settings to change your alert styles or alert settings for a specific app. 

How to customize what alerts or what you see in Apple News

  1. Open News and tap Following.
  2. If there are channels or topics that you don’t want to appear in your feed, tap the icon with … to block them or to stop News from suggesting them.

Note: When you block a channel or topic, its stories are filtered out of the Today feed and widget. However, you may see stories from channels you’ve blocked in Top Stories and other locations that feature stories chosen by Apple News editors. Tap Following > Blocked Channels & Topics to see the channels and topics you’ve blocked.

Use a “good” news network

There are news networks and aggregators out there that focus on bringing you just good news. Take the Good News Network, for example.

This alternative news site offers a ton of “good” news for you to read, with stories like “Miller is Giving Away a Dive Bar for Your Backyard.” That sounds like really good news to us — and utilizing sites like this can help train you to click on more uplifting headlines.

The ultimate goal is to break the bad news habit. If you can do that by using Endless Doomscrolling as a reminder, great. If you need to put your phone down for a while or change your news alerts, that’s OK too. Do what you need to do in order to change your news habits for the better — whatever that is.

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