With smartphones and the internet, the thought of not consuming news seems almost impossible. It is everywhere; on social media, notifications of breaking news sent directly to your phone and everyone’s “hot takes” being shared on your favorite blogs. With so much unhappy news, it’s no wonder it could be bringing you down. However, consuming less news in your daily life may actually improve your life. Here’s why and how!
No news is good news
It’s very rare that the news we consume is positive – it simply does not get as much press. There is occasionally a feel-good human interest story at the end of a bulletin to lighten the mood; however it is more likely that the negative stories will stick with you and play on your mind. Hearing bad news, first thing in a morning, is likely to focus your attention on the negative. You’ll then find that for the rest of the day, you will be more aware of the negative things happening around you, bringing your mood down rapidly.
When you are receiving news from every direction, the chances are there are going to be some serious discrepancies in what you are hearing. With political bias playing a big part in the way news is delivered, it can become difficult and increasingly frustrating trying to work out what is true and what has been twisted. Often this results in people feeling disenfranchised and disengaging from trying to make a change.
Although it is almost impossible to cut out all sources of news entirely, you can decide where you want to get this news from, when and how. Let your consumption of news be an active choice, rather than having it forced on you without your consent, via automatic notifications or overhearing radio headlines. Try a ‘news fast’ for seven days and allow yourself to evaluate the way you consume news and current events. How do you feel with less news in your life? If you decide that you don’t want to keep up with the fast, in the long run, take some time to determine how is best for you to find out about what’s going on in the world – while not letting the negativity and information overload take over your brain.
Of course, it does no good just to bury your head in the sand and pretend that negative things aren’t happening. However, it is an integral part of your personal self-care to be in control of how you find out about what is going on in the world, and from whom. If there is a disaster and you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness or anger, it is okay to disconnect from social media, and the news, and take some time out. When it comes to politics, the newspapers can be full of “he said, she said” propaganda, and this can make it difficult to decipher the politics from the drama. By avoiding this, and doing your own research, you can make an informed decision about how to vote without feeling overwhelmed.
Try fasting from the news for a week and see how you feel. Hopefully, you will feel more positive and less overwhelmed, and you will be able to take control of how you consume news on your own terms. And that’s good news all round!