Is listening to the news bad for your health?
I usually don’t listen to the news, but lately I have been. I am struck by how the words and images stay with me. People who live with T.V. or radio news constantly on in their homes must either develop defences against the ongoing bombardment of negativity or feel continually stressed. It cannot be beneficial for the health of our children. The article Avoid News: Towards a Healthy News Diet by Rolf Dodelli makes a compelling argument for why we should not listen to the news. I feel that it’s like most things in life we all have different levels tolerance, on different days. I work as an Art Therapist and counselor so it is too much for me to watch movies with violence and trauma. I have to be very aware of my sensory overload. Sensory overload means that your body/mind is over stimulated and needs to retreat. Powerful and moving images, loud noises, pungent smells and constant touch can cause sensory overload in adults and children. It is good to know what you are sensitive to and when you reach your sensory maximum. We have all seen children exploding in the checkout aisle of the grocery store when they reach the limit of their sensory tolerance. It may be the bright lights, all the interesting items on the shelves, the constant noise, touching all the food items, or taking in all the food odours. We all have different sensory limits. What is yours and how do you calm down your system when you need to?
Quick ways to calm your system:
1. Take a 15-minute nap or quiet time.
2. Drink glass of water.
3. Do a 15 to 20-minute meditation or visualization.
4. Sit in a quiet, dark, room with a soft blanket.
Reduce sensory input to one: smell, sight, touch, and noise.
Art Therapy Exercise for Sensory Overload:
Relax and do some deep breathing. Think of one color that feels really relaxing right now and slowly visualize it filling your inner body. Start at the head and work your way down the neck, shoulders, chest and stomach. Pause at the stomach and let yourself breath in the color deeply. Then watch that color gently wash through your hips, legs and down to your feet. Now, pick one smell and let yourself breath it in deeply. Notice how you are feeling. Next, shift your attention to one image that really resonates for you and sense where in the body it gravities to. Sense into your hands and let yourself image touching something that would feel calming for you right now. Take one deep breath and let yourself hear one sound that feels soothing to your ears. As you bring this exercise to a close, think of one word that expresses how you are feeling. Take a piece of white paper and express what you just experienced. Focusing your senses on one strong image, smell, touch or sound helps reduce sensory overload.