Combatting Negativity in the News

Negative News in the Media

Reading the news in the morning has been a part of my daily routine for a long time. I find it important to stay informed about major world events. However, I have become fatigued by the predictability of the news. On any given day, I am likely to find reports of some or all of the following: a major global health issue; an ongoing or impending conflict; a natural disaster; human rights abuses; negative economic data; political upheavals. Clearly not the best way to set the tone for the rest of the day.

This is a general problem with the media. It disproportionately presents negative events. I am sure that a lot of great things happen every day, but they rarely make it to the front page. I usually have to flip to the Science and Health sections to learn about a new treatment for a deadly disease or a new scientific discovery. However, when a spaceship crashes (as two did recently) it is guaranteed to be a top story. This creates the illusion that the world is all doom and gloom. Of course, it is human nature to want to know about things that can be of detriment to us. However, if that is all we hear, we quickly become desensitized to anything new that happens. Events that would otherwise elicit great attention are no longer exceptional, so when I hear about a mass shooting in the United States, I am no more interested than if I were to hear about a recent economic downturn.

As I mentioned in a previous post, people should spend more time thinking about and being thankful for their blessings and spend less time focussing on their problems. Focussing on the negative aspects of our lives hinders us from performing at our best. This results in further negative events, feeding the vicious cycle. However, when we focus on the positive aspects of our lives we are much happier. This improves our interactions with other people and helps us to perform better, giving us more reasons to be happy. As a result, I have decided to avoid reading the news in the morning. Instead, I turn on the radio to my favorite classical music station and postpone reading the news until the evening. I have already implemented this for some time now, and I have found that I am happier overall.

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