In the year 2020, Jenny Eastwood became addicted to bad news. The 26-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, couldn’t stop checking the narratives of the deadly pandemic, police brutality, protests, conspiracy theories, and politics as each crisis unfolded, particularly half a world away in the United States. Every 10 minutes yielded another dire post on Reddit or Instagram.
“By the middle of the pandemic, I was feeling really flat,” says Eastwood, who works in marketing. “I felt like humanity sucked in general, but I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything, because I’d be constantly thinking about checking the latest updates.”
Like many people, Eastwood had become obsessed with our world’s seemingly increasing danger—a response that has roots in our evolutionary development. Stories of