Counselor: How Consuming Too Much Negative News Can Cause PTSD

(Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash)
New York Times' bestselling author and counselor John Eldredge says he found himself so glued to his smartphone, he burned out from checking news and email so much. What he discovered was that digesting too much traumatic news can actually lead to PTSD.

"I didn't hit a wall, but I just didn't like my life anymore," Eldredge says. "I have these delightful little grandchildren now, and I could only play with them for about five minutes before I needed to check my phone. ... I didn't like it. So I just set out to say, 'Father, how? How do we live a sane life? And how do we live a rich life in Christ? In a world like ours, and then the pandemic?' ...

"Back in 9/11, when the Twin Towers went down, they did research afterward. And they discovered that people who watched it on TV had the same PTSD as people who were there on the streets in New York. And what we're discovering is that simply consuming news of traumatic events traumatizes the soul. ... We're finite beings. Only God is infinite and omniscient, and we were never meant to know about the latest shooting in Syria, the latest earthquake in Turkey, the fires in Australia. The rising incidence of PTSD, a lot of that has to do with too much news."

The key to breaking that news addiction is taking breaks to get outside and enjoy nature, or even just reading a book while in the house, Eldredge says on the Greenelines podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.

"Your soul is meant to be nourished by the real world and particularly by creation," Eldredge says. "What I'm encouraging people to do is get away from the artificial as much as you can, especially now that we're all working at home. Most of us are on Zoom all day long. Get off technology in the evening. Take a walk, if you're able to. I realize the restrictions are a little different in places. Listen to some music, you know, put on some worship in the house or read a real book, and you will feel your soul doing better."

For more encouragement while navigating negative news cycles, click here for the entire episode.

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