– Want To Be Happier? Stop Following The News –
We get an overload of drama and negativity from all directions. Unconsciously we take it all in, and without realizing it – it makes a huge impact on our life. One of the biggest sources of negativity, served up to us by a good looking waiter or waitress on an attractive plate, is the news. And we gladly take it.
It is entrenched so deeply into our lives that it is unusual if someone says that they don’t follow it. But, have you ever, EVER, asked yourself the question – “why do I follow the news?”
Ask yourself now.
Why do you follow the news? So you know what happens around the world? So you are up to date with current events? That’s great… but what value does that bring into your life? Let me answer that for you; None. The simple truth is it does more harm than good.
Here is what the news does. It spreads negativity around people’s lives; it spreads negativity throughout the world.
Let me draw a little scenario of a consequence of watching the news: You are walking in the street, and you hear a conversation between two people:
“Henk, did you hear it on the news? Someone killed himself again.”
“Ohh yeah Dirk, I read about it too, and ohh, what about that guy who killed 4 other people?”
“Yeah I know… this world is doomed”
These are actual conversations that happen in the streets all around the world every single day! Over and over and over again. By watching, listening, and reading the news, people gain this bad image, a negative perception about life, that everything is going wrong and that nothing is going right. All you know, all you are ever told, is how much is going wrong in the world.
How much evil there is out there. What is never pointed out, is all the incredible, wonderful things that are happening right now too! People do good things, beautiful things to each other ALL THE TIME. But we don’t see that, because the news doesn’t show the good aspects, only the things that are going wrong.
I started to ask myself. Why does the news only show the bad side of life?
I ask you the same question. Why? Think about it. Why does the news only provide “bad” news. Why can’t they put a section that covers all the good things? Why can’t they talk a bit more about that instead? Isn’t it “news” anymore when it is good, when it is uplifting? Of course not.
Here is why:
The news is nothing more than a money machine. And how does it make sure its sells the most, that it makes the most money? By offering what sells best – drama.
If you have the choice between these two topics:
The man who shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself
The man who grew the biggest sunflower
Which one would you click on? Maybe you would have clicked on “The man who grew the biggest sunflower.” However, the vast majority of the human population would have clicked on the first one. Drama sells. And people love drama.
The news gains the most viewers through it, which simply leads to more money. So of course it only provides us with all the bad, instead of all the good. It sells the most sought-after content. The news is no more than a company, trying to earn the most money they can.
The news is nothing more than a form of entertainment. You think people watch it because they actually care what happens around the world? Of course, they don’t. If they truly cared, they would go out there and provide the help wherever it is needed.
We follow it so we can complain about something – people love to complain. We follow it so we feel better about ourselves. Because the trouble you see on the news, isn’t happening to you, so you unconsciously feel slightly relieved, you feel better, you’re not in their shoes. Even the section about the weather gives us a reason to complain. It’s absurd. What value does any of this bring into our lives? Nada, zero, nothing.
Observe yourself the next time you watch, read or listen to the news. What emotions are stirred inside you? What does it do to you? Also, have a look and listen to other people when they are talking about the news. You will see negativity is flowing out of them, and by talking about it, by passing it on, they are simply spreading that negativity.
“Negativity can only feed on negativity.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I’ve asked a lot of people the following two questions: Why do you follow the news? Most answered with: “So I know what happens around the world” Then I asked them: “What value does this bring to your life or to the world?”
On this question, however, most people had to think. They started blabbering away and weren’t too sure what to say. One thing I’m sure of however is that they won’t stop to follow it, even though they know it doesn’t bring them any value whatsoever.
Because they don’t realize the actual harm it is doing to them! They keep watching, reading, listening to it; they keep lapping it all up because it is simply entertainment for them. But very harmful entertainment as it brainwashes you, it puts an image in your head which is not true. For all the bad things you see and hear, there are an equal number of good things. But if you allow yourself to be influenced by the negativity, you gradually become addicted to it. Just like you become addicted to sugar.
Yet you cannot really blame anyone for acting like this, it is the way we are all conditioned from day one.
It is what society serves to us. We get brainwashed that it is normal, that it is the thing to do, to follow the news. But, if you really start to think about it, it is far from normal.
So, what should you do? The answer is very simple – cut yourself off from it. I have completely shut myself off from the news. I do not watch it on the TV, I don’t touch any newspapers, and when I listen to the radio in my car and the news comes on, I turn my radio off for 10 minutes.
Does this mean that I don’t care about what is happening around the world? Of course not. To some people, it may sound like I don’t, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I care A LOT about what happens in, and to the world. But hearing about it every single day isn’t going to help ANYONE. Not me, and certainly not those people in trouble. All it does is contaminate me with negativity, spoon feed me the sugar.
Here is a better idea: Instead of reading the newspaper every day and inhaling all the negativity, why not read a bunch of quotes every day, to inspire and motivate you? Not only will it actually make you feel good, you will inspire others with your positive energy. And guess what? Through that, you will actually help and change the world for the better. Doesn’t that sound more valuable? Break the habit of following news, and change it to doing something of true value instead, something that actually brings about positive results.
Habits are created with the formation of synaptic pathways between certain brain cells. Following the news every single day becomes a habit. If you repeat a behavior often enough, those synaptic pathways are going to get worn in. By following the news every single day, you create a pathway to negativity. However, these worn-in pathways will weaken without use. The important thing is to replace the pathway with something else.
As you stop feeding the old pathways by no longer following the impulses, they eventually lose their potency, as energy is shifted to focus on the development of new pathways. Which means: if you stop following the news and replace it with something else, something positive, after a while, the old pathway of negativity will be replaced by one with a positive outcome.
Here is an example:
Whenever my parents watch the news on TV for 30 minutes, I play my guitar for 30 minutes. It not only makes me feel incredibly happy when I play, if you add up all those 30 minutes, in a few years I will be a very skilled guitar player. While I am learning the guitar, what value did they gain? NOTHING. Break the habit of following the news. Create a new one!
Don’t waste your precious time on something that is ultimately bad for you, do something instead that matters, something positive, of value. Don’t allow yourself to become an addict of negativity, free yourself from its grip.
Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Your voice matters!
Latest posts by Jellis Vaes (see all)
- The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety - March 11, 2019
- The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Surivive and Thrive When the World Overwhelms You - February 25, 2019
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended - February 17, 2019