How negative news distorts our thinking

Watch, read, or listen to the news, and you’re likely to come away believing that the world is rapidly descending into disaster and chaos, even though many aspects of life have improved dramatically over the last few decades. Exposure to consistent, sensationalized pessimism and negativity has become the norm for those keeping up with the news.

This matters, because research shows us that what we see on the news can significantly impact our mental health. While negative news may influence our thinking through multiple mechanisms, one important consideration is how it interfaces with our cognitive biases, keeping our focus on everything that’s going wrong while blinding us to all the good things around us.

Here are three specific cognitive biases that are activated by negative news to keep us in a state of negativity and how to start making changes to break the cycle.

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