Too much bad news linked to stress and anxiety

With hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanos, our world seems to be pushed further and further into crisis. It can take a serious toll on our mental health.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the United States experienced 16 weather and climate disasters last year, with losses exceeding $1 billion and total costs of approximately $306 billion -- a national record, as reported by CNN.

With the surge of technology, social media and a 24-hour news cycle, exposure to traumatic events has rapidly increased over the past few decades, as well.

Now, it turns out consuming too much bad news without a break can be bad for your health.

It causes a stress response, and repeated stressful exposure without enough time to recover can wear out the mind and body.

A psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery, Dr. Susan Babbel, says chronic stress can cause adrenal fatigue, which leads to symptoms like headaches, poor sleep, anxiety and depression.

"Every time we experience or hear about a traumatic event, we go into stress mode. We might go numb or have an overactive fear response to the perceived threat. Our physiology is triggered to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline," Babbel said.

Physical and emotional health isn't the only concern -- an overload of traumatic news also can lead to disaster fatigue, making us less concerned and more apathetic to a crisis.

To soothe the nervous system, you can use stress management techniques such as exercise, spending time with friends and family, and relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga.

Practicing self-soothing techniques is like building muscle; it will make us stronger and more resilient to crises.
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