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Negative news stories can affect our mood, but feeling doesn't last: doctor

(by Amy Judd, Global News)


It appeared that on Wednesday, Canada was a scary and dangerous place.


News reports after news reports revealed stories about a man wanted in connection to the attempted murder of his former landlord and possibly two other people, five people dead after a shooting rampage in Seattle, a manhunt for a man in Montreal accused of killing and dismembering a person, and an Alberta family found dead in a ditch in Saskatchewan, to name a few of the big ones.


“I think that certainly what we see in the media does have an impact on our immediate mood,” said Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych.


“You may have your own stresses and then you’re seeing, being bombarded by beyond negative, I mean really some horrific stories, and absolutely that has a short-term impact on our mood,” she said.


The key phrase is ‘short-term’, and Samra said while we may feel bogged down by the negative events on the evening news, that feeling won’t last.


“I think the media in general has a huge impact in terms of our world view of certain things, and if what you’re seeing is a series of negative and traumatic events then it certainly skews our perspective to be in some ways, I think, unbalanced.”


“I think it really is quite short-term and does get diluted, over time, I don’t think there’s a terribly lasting effect, she added.”


Samra said that people are often looking for an escape at the end of a long work day, and the evening news does not always fall into that category.


“I think there really is a balance between informing the public on one hand, and then on the other hand what are sensational stories,” she said.


It is important to keep perspective however.


“These murders, and killings, and awful maimings that we’re seeing, these are very very highly infrequent low-base rate events,” said Samra.


© Global News. A division of Shaw Media Inc., 2012.
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