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If every year feels like the worst, it's mostly because our brains tend to judge the present more harshly. Indiscriminately watching the news skews our perception and makes us more prone to slip into unhealthy patterns.
Many of us become obsessed with the world's seemingly increasing danger. We can't stop checking narratives of the deadly diseases, police brutality, protests, conspiracy theories, and politics, even if it is halfway around the world.
In Western culture, people tend to interpret current events negatively, while we tend to remember the positive experiences of the past.
Frightening things have happened in the past too and before the current pandemic, the majority of Americans already believed the country was going downhill.
However, the effects of media aren't always negative. It depends on the medium of consumption and how you use it. Actively engaging in positive conversations with friends and family can have a positive effect. Lurking or scrolling through updates without engaging has a negative psychological impact.
While we may never see the present as perfect, we can learn to control our biases.
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