Watching news and our wellbeing don’t really go hand in hand. Having a positive attitude to life while news bombards us with negative stories and emergencies just doesn’t seem to be a good kind of balancing act. Especially if you buy into the premise that our minds and what we think bring about our experiences, then watching the news seems like a really, really, bad idea.
In the interests of research (I think), just over a week ago I stopped watching news. As a voracious consumer of news, that meant no Googling news, looking up online news sites, barely listening to the radio as it had news between songs every few minutes and generally just completely tuning out from the world. Luckily, I don’t really watch that much TV but I did avoid any news or current affairs related shows.
So how’d it go?
It’s weird. You build up this image in your head that news is pervasively negative, that it almost imprints on our consciousness what it is that will happen. So we go around carrying problems that were never really ours to start with – we’re wound up from the morning news about politicians, bankers, crimes against humanity, crimes against our country men and women, stealing, thuggery and any number of things that fill the column inches. We get drawn into anger and stress over problems that are a world away from we are.
So #nonews week seemed like a good idea to disconnect from all that. Blotting out the news meant I wouldn’t be subjected to a barrage of negativity from early morning until last thing at night – because that’s me – always reading the news and following stories. Instead, I’d exist in this twilight world where everything was happy and I’d just experience the now rather than jumping from one thing to the next.
One half of it is true anyway. I did end up experiencing now. I found myself with more time especially when normally I’d be consuming news – lunch breaks (actually, any type of break), nighttime, evening time and everywhere in between. So I took to reading books during my breaks. It was strange at first. We have a habit of just doing what we always do – and for me that is mindlessly reading news. It’s my switch off from the problems that are close to me right now. When I want to avoid making a decision I’ll go read some damn news! Without that distraction, I did find myself solving problems quicker and getting more work done, blissfully unaware that the next town over could have dropped off the face of the earth.
But it wasn’t all super productivity and being oh so present in the moment. I felt ignorant. I felt disconnected. I like watching what companies are doing in the organic field, the health and science field. I like being aware of what greater plans lay in wait for us. I like watching the grand plans of politicians in high up places. It amazes me how people in high places are slowly training us all to act in a certain way. Without news, I had nothing, nada, zilch, zero to relay to people!
And let’s face it. Aliens could have landed or armageddon could have kicked off. I would have been blithely painting my fences (which I did btw).
But I’d do it all over again for a breather. I don’t think I could live the #nonews life 24/7 – for me, watching news and how it relates to our growth (or dumming down) as people is fascinating. I will become more selective in what I consume and definitely keeping news out of every break time isn’t such a bad idea.