The news is a bit like a drug for me. Something will hook me in, pull me into the drama, and suddenly I’m checking my phone at 3am to the ‘disappointment’ that nothing bad has happened. Of course, on many occasions something bad has happened and I’m left wondering about all the people involved, becoming anxious and angry at the injustice of it all and empathising with them leaving me troubled and scared – and all at 3 am in the morning.! I needed to reassess my relationship with news media because this certainly wasn’t working. If you’re still hooked remember –
IT’S A KIND OF REALITY DRAMA AND NOT RELATIVE TO YOUR LIFE
Usually my day is 99% good, 1% bad. When I say bad – it’s relative to me – this could be burning the dinner or forgetting to record BBC 1’s hit soap Doctors. None of my days have ever included any of the following – murders, abductions, terrorist attacks, refugee crises, airplane crashes, resignations from important political jobs, or bedding footballers to sell my story. So, in short they’re not representative so really I’m just tuning into a kind of ‘real drama’ for entertainment under the guise of being ‘well informed’ and ‘current’.
IT MAKES US FEEL LIKE IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO US
Psychologists call it ‘availability heuristic’ it means if you see it happening to someone you think it will happen to you too. This could be a terrorist attack or winning the lottery. We stop travelling or start buying tickets – when the probability of being involved in either is very small.
IT FEEDS ON THE NEED FOR US TO BE ‘WELL INFORMED’
The media know that we take a lot of our cues from their coverage. We decide where to travel, what to think, who we like and who we don’t. They shape our morality and our beliefs. We think we have a choice in this but actually we are very carefully manipulated – even by organisations who are supposed to be neutral.
WHAT’S THE ANSWER
- if you must read the news – try and pick your headlines. You can configure most news websites to show you certain categories – e.g sport/entertainment. Just remember there’s a chance you’ll get dragged in.
- Take an interest in whats happening in your field of interest, for instance – if you like sport – go see a football match. Like politics? Join a political party. Try and stick to the subject itself.
- Remember being in a state of anxiety causes chronic stress. Our brains can’t distinguish between real and imagined events. This leaves us in flight or fight mode.
HOW BEING ‘NEWSLESS’ CHANGED MY LIFE
I have a much more balanced view of the world. I’m not worried about things happening to me or my family – even though I know there is a danger. I sleep better, think clearer and probably most importantly I am enjoying the spare time I have. Do it! and start enjoying your ‘newsless’ existence. Need help – do our free Digital Detox.