I stopped watching television news in 1987. I scan headlines daily but rarely read more than the opening paragraph. I believe that most news programs are politically driven to give the viewer/listener their opinion. Sometimes, the items selected for distribution to the public cannot be verified.
The Pew Research Center conducted earlier this year (22FEB-04MAR) and found that nearly seven in ten Americans (actually 68%) feel worn out by the amount of news they get on a daily basis. The audience feels exhausted. Typically, this exhaustion is expected during a presidential election cycle. The study found that the political affiliation had little influence on the level of fatigue.
I started questioning the news reporting when I had access to the global Internet (world-wide web). I noticed three things about the news I had been watching. The first was the delay in reporting. Some news events were published in the United States days after they happened and had been posted already overseas.
The second was that I wasn’t receiving the entire news. Some essential aspects were left out when reported. The last item was that sometimes the story was never published. Based on those observations, I decided not to get emotionally involved with news reports that were no longer indeed news.
The emotional aspect of news reports affects all of us. It’s not the actual report, but how we accept it. For example, if a story about our current or former president angers you, then your stress levels rise. We, as a population, do not relieve stress daily. Stress accumulates in our bodies and can degrade our health.
Heart problems (high blood pressure, increased pulse, higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides), smoking tendencies increase, obesity levels rise, asthma, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems (heartburn, GERD, IBS), accelerated aging and premature death are commonly associated with higher levels of stress.
I know many people who will not go to bed before watching the late-night news. Your subconscious mind rehashes what you have most recent exposures (news being one of the leading vulnerabilities for most of us). Why exacerbate the quality of your sleep?
We choose to accept or let things go. Is something that happened hundreds of years ago to a family member still worth holding a grudge? This was very evident in what I observed first-hand in Bosnia in the 90s. Grandparents inculcated their grandchildren with historical animosities that happened centuries before. I’m sure this is probably common in many societies.
Regardless of what the stress is (television news or your neighbor), there are a few things you can do to reduce stress and the biological effects on your health. One of the most obvious is taking a deep breath and holding it. Exercise (even as simple as walking) can be beneficial. Meditation and yoga are used by many to reduce stress.
It’s not what happened to you. It’s what you do with it once you have been exposed to the stress. Many times, you can remove yourself from the stressful situation. I tell my audiences to smile. It is simple, cheap and instantaneous. And, it works.
You cannot have a positive and negative thought in your brain at the same time. Smiling is incoherent with negative thoughts and minimizes the stress-inducing effects of negativity very quickly. Look around at what’s happening in your life if you are stressed, feeling anxious or depressed, How you view, your daily news events (real or fake) might be the cause.