Avoid broadcast news as much as possible.
Difficult advice to give for someone who studied journalism, but nonetheless, it could be the best advice I ever gave. Because there is so. much. static. The airwaves are filled with constant noise.
TV news today is ridiculously dramatic and inflated, and often downright wrong. Inaccurate. Not factual. One network has so much BREAKING NEWS! that it’s impossible to discern if something new and significant really happened. Another is more like Russian State TV than the impartial press we grew up on. And another makes no bones about their opinion and position. I even agree with them, but what I don’t believe is that news should be opinion.
It isn’t supposed to be.
Gone are the calming, stentorian tones of old-school newscasters, who could be trusted to announce news that was actually news without the high drama of today’s competition for clicks and eyeballs. All that drama? It’s heart-racingly anxiety-provoking. So yeah, avoid the news. I do.
Except for the nightly analysis done by the very brilliant and astute Rachel Maddow. Who tells it like it is. Tells truth. It’s opinion and analysis, though. Not news. But still, she is a breath of reality at a time when truth is a victim of politics and stupidity.
A news diet can do amazing things for your state of mind. Here’s my diet:
No televised national news. The exception to that was during the early Black Lives Matter protests when so much news was actually breaking and then when trump’s “team” started splitting from him. But I just watched a little bit, because, well, so repetitive. Except for Rachel. I try to watch her as much as possible.
Local news only when our Governor speaks. Otherwise I check individual sites for information I mightneed.
My online subscriptions to the Washington Post and the New York Times allow me to scan headlines and read what I want to. They don’t scream at me from a noisy box in my house.
My many Facebook friends post articles that I might or might not click–I make that assessment by reading the headline. Usually, I agree with their outrage–why gild the lily? There’s only so much outrage i can tolerate. I’m already there. But sometimes I’ll see something interesting that I want to actually read or watch.
This is a challenging time for us all. Even me, and I thought I was doing well in isolation. More on that another day.
Do this instead
So if you find your heart racing, your mood downcast and fear taking hold, avoid the news. Instead do one of these things:
Read a book.
Watch escapist streaming shows.
Go for a walk.
Sit in your garden.
Play with a pet.
Color. (see free coloring downloads here)
Write in a journal.
Clean a closet.
Have a cup of tea.
And whatever you do, avoid the news.