As the sun sets and darkness takes over the sky in winters, cozied up in a blanket, we often find ourselves alone with our thoughts and imagination. Sometimes we make ourselves a nice cup of tea to enjoy your time after a long, hectic day. Wondering what is going in the world, we either decide to watch the news or surf through our social media feeds to get updates on the subjects that interest us the most. As Forrest Gump’s mother once said, “life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re gonna get”, this is true because sometimes what we might see could ruins our night. There is a possibility that some of us might fall into this giant sinkhole full of chaos, trauma and destruction, that the return journey is often painful. The night that was supposed to detox our souls and relax our mind has now turned into a sad, stressful night that often leaves us with tensed muscles, escalated heart rate and forces us to overthink about the future. Certain events take place in our life could affect our routine to such an extent that it leads to compromised mental health. These events include financial issues, planning for the future, current political climate of the country, maintaining relationships with people, but the factor that we fail to understand as stressor is the influence of media in our lives and how it evokes our stress levels.

When we paint a picture of a Pakistani household, one of the commonalties that can be found is an elderly person, sitting in front of television watching news almost all the time. For a population that spend so much time watching news, their stress levels are usually high as the words “sabse pehlay hum ne aap tak khabar pahunchai hai” echo in our living rooms because of the information we are receiving about the world constantly, and might I add, most of them are negative. Daredia, K. and Zehra, N. (2014) in their article talked about how display of such chaotic and violent situations on television causes psychological disturbances, therefore the news channels should adopt ways to reduce the panic that they create when reporting an incident. As for social media sites, the content shared can be explicit, even though there is a warning prior to watching the video or post, people tend to ignore it and later are haunted by the thoughts that follow. For people who want to cope with the stress of evoked through these headlines, although there’s no escape from the reality, you can try practicing these few steps to make yourself feel better and improve your mental health:

Try reducing your screen time: watching news all day can be informative and helps us make sense of out surrounding, however what we don’t realize are the adverse effects it has on our mental health i.e. elevated stress and anxiety. Maybe watch it for an hour or so throughout the day.
Read news instead of watching it: this old school practice decreases your stress levels because as you read a newspaper, it is a mixture of positive and negative news.
Start your day with a positive message: in this era of podcasts, motivational speakers or people who talk about the world from a constructive perspective should be part of your morning playlist as you have your breakfast.
Talk about how you feel: living in this chaotic world is not easy, Pukaar has an amazing team of listeners who can help you put your mind at peace. You can talk to them about what is bothering you and they will help you find a solution to your queries and unsettling thoughts.

Written By: Izza Raza

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