How to Gain Control of Media Consumption During COVID-19

Overconsumption of Information Relating to COVID-19 (and in general)

The problem –

It’s normal these days to be consumed by COVID-19 news, scientific updates, and social media posts. Our brains are wired to look for threats and problems, and we are constantly bombarded with ideas that create a sense of fear and anxiety. So, we look for solutions by trying to keep up with the constant flow of information. This behavior can also turn into an unproductive distraction, when we feel out of control of our situations.

What happens as a result?

  • We become further absorbed in all the information.
  • Things appear worse in our minds than they really are.
  • We are less effective at creating solutions to the problem we see with COVID-19, and less effective at solving the problems we’re good at solving.

The solutions can include –

  • Identifying the thoughts and beliefs that are creating feelings of fear, anxiety, worry, sense of being out of control, etc. that are driving the unproductive behavior.
  • Acknowledging your current experience that is causing you suffering and accept that it is okay and normal to feel this way. Process what is going on for you.
  • Deciding if and when you are ready to shift to create a new outcome – e.g. one of controlled deliberate consumption of information with the purpose of putting it to some use (e.g. to stay appropriately informed on necessary updates, to aide decision-making, etc.). You also aim to create a situation where you show up doing your best work, because that’s what the world needs right now. You decide what it means to do your best work.
  • Action items such as: creating an intention to control consumption of media, choosing sources more carefully, setting limits to consumption, focusing on priorities, having times that media is off-limits.
  • Reframing your perspective of the situation to create feelings that help you stay in-line with the above action items.

Example thought: I can learn what I need to learn and continue to focus on contributing through my strengths and other interests.

Feelings this thought may create: calm, excited, motivated, in control

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