A very wise teacher once pointed out that the nightly (or morning) news is always the bad news. It was true then, and it's even more so now that the information age brings so much to our attention, in such immediate and varied ways. Do you sometimes feel totally bombarded by information, as if you are under attack? I do! There's always plenty to be sad/upset/outraged/shocked (insert your own emotion here) about when watching the TV news, or seeing it through a feed on your computer or smartphone. And even the efforts of some news media to play a "feel good" story at the end of the broadcast does not cancel out a half an hour of bad news and shocking images. The thing you must remember to keep things in perspective is: bad news, the more shocking the better, sells, and that is what advertisers are looking to do.
So, do we mere mortals have any control over the bad news brigade? Well, the answer is no -- and yes! The one thing we can (and I've come to believe should) do is to unplug ourselves from the onslaught -- yes, I know this is a very radical idea. I'm proposing a complete news fast. If you want a challenge in flexing your muscles of self-control -- here it is! Can you stop watching, listening, reading, computing or otherwise ingesting the news for a fixed period of time? It's a whole lot more difficult than you might initially think.
If you rise to the challenge, you can start by unplugging the TV. Leave it unplugged. Just try it for a week. Or, if you are a real addict, try it for one day. Just a day! You can do that!! No cheating, now. If you don't live alone, this is obviously a LOT more complicated, because you have to get everyone to agree to do this. See what I mean about the difficulty? You might want to wait until the Olympics is over to start the news fast. Just a thought to keep the proverbial peace. Once you've mastered the TV, move on to the computer. Facebook will still be there when you return. Just don't turn it on. Or if you do, use it for creative writing or something that's purely fun and not tainted with any news. It's not easy, but you can do it!
Then, you can find all kinds of positive ways to fill the time you would normally spend watching the news/TV/computer internet surfing/reading the paper. Do you enjoy reading? If so, pick up that new novel you've been meaning to start. Or start a craft project. Or a home repair project. Or a hobby you've not had time to do in umpteen years. Or go out dancing or sailing or whatever you enjoy. That's a major advantage of going on a news fast -- you will find your leisure time increases exponentially. The other rather wonderful side effect of a news fast is that you start to feel calmer, less frazzled, less distressed/depressed if you don't have a constant barrage of negativity coming at you all during your waking hours. The trick is to do this in baby steps. At first you might feel shaky. You may fall down (and plug the TV back in for a fix or take a peek at Facebook), but if you persist, you will find some truly worthwile benefits. My husband and I did a news fast for a whole month and it literally changed our lives. We even had meaningful conversations when not glued to the TV. Really. Try it.
I won't go on and list all the benefits of less stress and a more positive outlook. You've no doubt seen those numbers and read those articles. What I will tell you, is that finding ways to truly come alive, to share laughter that makes your sides hurt and tears stream down your face, to experience a joyful, deeper intimacy with those you love -- these things are the priceless jewels in our human lives and we can choose, consciously, to nurture them and let them shine. So, take back a bit of control over your life and turn it in a positive, fulfilling, uplifting direction. Live, laugh, and love. Do it for a day. You may like the results so much you'll make it a permanent lifestyle change.