Have you ever noticed how sad, upset or angry you feel after catching up on the news? If you haven’t noticed, observe your reactions next time you tune in. Make a conscious effort to assess how your body feels.
Do you feel tight in your shoulders or upper back? What about a knot or churning in your stomach?
Does your mind race as you ask yourself, “How could anybody do that? “or “What is this world coming to?”
These (and any other bad-feelings) are normal reactions to disasters and violence. But here’s something you may not know: news organizations are making you feel this way on purpose! When I was in journalism school, we had a saying in the news room: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Have you ever heard of “sensationalistic” journalism? Think Jerry Springer meets the local apartment fire.
It’s evoking emotion in any way possible so you pay attention. When this vacuum’s created, you’re now vulnerable to advertising and thinking like the news organization, aka, agenda pushing. These subliminal messages can really affect you, and you hardly notice it. How? Let’s connect what we’ve just exposed about the media and how it relates to your life.
Our brains are like giant magnets, able to attract information, either positive or negative. As your brain interprets information, your subconscious backs up or reaffirm the stories you tell yourself. These truths become your reality, and you make decisions based in this space.
You have the ability to feed your reality either positive or good-feeling thoughts, or negative or bad-feeling thoughts. If you’re constantly ingesting news content: wars, famines, disease, death etc., this becomes your dominant reality, and you continue to strengthen your negative thinking. Before you know it, you’re angry at the government, livid with law-enforcement, and fearful about the next disaster.
What’s worse is you’re exposed to this all day, every day with modern technology. Feeling good is almost impossible! I know it’s a bit unrealistic to seal yourself completely off from the world, but you can limit how much time you spend in negativity. You can do this by becoming aware of the negative messages you expose yourself to and limiting your focus on them. Block out a 15 minute chunk of your day for catching up on the news. Don’t look at it again until the next day. Limit your media to one TV station, newspaper or radio talk show. Choose to read only headlines. Do what works for you, but focus on feeling good. You may end up eliminating other negative information like emails, social posts and magazines too.
If you’re ready to take the ultimate challenge, go on a “news diet” for 30 days. Purposely ignore news-related media during this time and re-evaluate how you feel. As a recovering journalist, I find myself centered and more at peace after I eliminated about all news from my life. The main strategy for ultimate happiness is feeling good, and this may be one strategy that gets you there fast.