I was browsing through my usual headlines this morning and it struck me how counterproductive it can be to read the news. I usually check out various RSS feeds and get a feel for the news of the day. Even if I don’t read the articles, I can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the world.
Today, after reading a few headlines about Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin being killed and a list of other bad news, I was left feeling depressed. I was struck by how much of a weight on the spirit all of this negativity can be. How useful is it to read the news anyway? What does it add to my life or yours?
I do think it’s useful to have an idea of what’s going on in the world, but the news is so often filled with bad things. Why is so much of what we call ‘news’ just bad news? Are accidents, murders, crimes, pain, and tears so interesting? It seems that humans are naturally drawn to stories of tragedy. It’s like driving by the scene of a car wreck. You can’t turn away, can you?
I’m certainly not advocating that you never watch or read the news, but it’s worthwhile to reflect on the amount of negative information you absorb every day. If you’re spending a lot of time each day taking in information that weighs your spirit down, it can leave you feeling down all day. If you start your day on this footing, it can definitely impact how you feel. It subtly influences your perception of the world.
The best approach is some sort of balance. A quick browse through the headlines sometime each day isn’t bad. You should be aware of what’s going on in the world around you. It’s only prudent. You don’t want to insulate yourself from bad news and inadvertantly block out all the good and useful information as well. Just make sure you take some time each day to read, watch, or listen to something that is uplifting, something that provides a positive boost to your psyche.
We can’t block out all of the bad stuff, but we can try to limit our exposure to what’s bad in the world. We can also make sure to include good, positive information every day and make that the majority of our daily information diet.