The news has always consisted of dreaded tragedies, sad circumstances of communities, cities and countries. I realize that the continued focus has always been on the negative stories. The car accidents, the shootings, natural disasters, the hatred.
Why does this stuff sell? Is it because we care, or is it something completely different?
Why are we addicted to watching bad news on TV and News Feeds?
I learned my own answers to this recently.
Taking a Step Back
Until a few months ago I was one of the millions of people glued to CNN and other news channels, and news feeds on my laptop or cell phone, needing to stay updated about the natural disasters and tragedies befalling our human race. My day started and ended with the TV warning me about our increasingly dangerous and volatile world.
However, over five months ago when my TV stopped working, and I have not watched the news since, something amazing happened in my life.
In the quiet and serenity, I have become more aware of the emphasis on how and why bad news sells. How and why TV, radio and newspapers highlight shattering, sometimes tragic news repeatedly.
Bad news sells!
Can’t Look Away
Just like our morbid curiosity of watching a horror movie in the name of entertainment, people are scared of tragedy affecting them and their lives but they can accept to witness it when others experience it. That’s why we slow down to gawk at a car accident. Many of us are compelled to see accident victims from the safety of our own cars. We are witnessing tragedy but we are safe from it.
It is not us.
To me, there is something very odd about this.
I have been very selective about what I watch on my laptop, too, getting my news when I want or quick radio check while driving. Other than that I start and finish my day with music, conversation, reading or fill my mind with great thoughts of a better future for me and those around me. The days of me turning on the TV when I get up or watching the evening news before bed are done; they are over.
I do not need the negative energy.
It is common knowledge that when we are constantly surrounded by negativity, it seeps into our subconscious and we get more agitated and life seems duller, greyer. We no longer see the miracle of every day, the joy that is life itself. Whether you consider yourself a spiritual being or not, we are all miracles of life. And just like we heal ourselves with our thoughts, and positive self-talk, it’s so important to fill our days with recharging energy instead of doom and gloom on the news.
Stay Real But Positive
Of course, we have to stay safe, but how much news do you need in order to feel truly connected and updated?
I would like to present to you an exercise. It may feel strange at first, like a man trying on a custom tailored suit when he has always favored casual off the rack clothing, or for a woman donning a new type of style of dress that she has never considered before. If these do not fit, or do not feel right, just remove them and go back to your old styles.
But please give this a shot.
Unplug your TV for only one week
Turn off the TV and keep it off for 7 days.
When you awaken in the morning listen to your favorite (hopefully uplifting and inspiring) music and songs. You may start with relaxing music, maybe try opera, then love ballads, then the “pick me up, let’s get going” songs.
When you come home after work listen to music on your home radio. Why not keep it on all day on low volume, so when you come home, if you are alone, it will feel more inviting than coming in to a quiet home. I keep mine on a relaxing station so I always come home to soothing sounds.
After dinner read a book of choice or call a friend you have been thinking about.
Go for walks and enjoy nature, rather than worry about our world, which let’s face it, you won’t be able to change even if you wanted to, at least not without a lot of help. This may leave many people feeling helpless, depressed and despondent, but it doesn’t have to.
Small Steps are the Way to Go
You will be surprised at how much you will appreciate the little things while enjoying your life, your family and your surroundings without the constant blaring or rumbling of the TV. You will feel more at peace than if you continue being sucked into the so-called ‘staying updated’ with what’s happening in the world.
You can make huge changes in your own world.
Stay on your course of doing what you can to bring happiness in your home, your circle of friends, your community and neighborhood, and that way you will feel connected and in charge of your own small world. That is all any of us can do.
You will be giving the perfect example to your family and friends and it may well inspire others to follow suit. One thing for sure, you will start to feel the benefits, in your physical and spiritual self. The cliché of ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is so true because human beings do actually heal themselves. So if you remind yourself of the happier occasions and encourage positivity within yourself and your home, then it will blossom and cause a ripple effect of happiness and increased hope. Of course bad things will continue to happen close to us, but we do not need to concentrate on it every minute of every day.
Trust me, you will not miss anything that’s going on in the big, bad world, because news will come to you, via your friends talking about it or when you decide to turn on your laptop and catch up within a few minutes. But as you are in charge, you can either change the subject with your friends, or switch your attention to what you want to concentrate on in your life with a press of a button or two on your electronics of choice.
After the week you can decide if you want to purchase the suit or dress or not, but I promise you will feel better if you can limit the amount of time you watch TV, and the bad news in particular.
Try it for a week. You may realize that you’re one of the growing population of people who never go back to watching TV. Imagine how much time this will free up for you and your family.
Go for it.
Choose to be positive.
Persist in keeping up with your good habits.
You are in control, not the TV!
Author of Love, Care and Share, An Inspirational Message