EASY ON THE NEWS: AVOIDING NEWS OVERLOAD

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Written By Nancymarie B.

Are you like me? Do you find yourself having a mini-meltdown after watching, listening to, or reading the news? The media can sometimes create so much fear and unrest. But, what do we do? We can’t necessarily disconnect from learning about current events altogether. Believe it or not, we are able to get what we need and want, all while keeping our heads above water.

BE SELECTIVE

Staying up-to-date on current events is essential. We all live in this world, have a responsibility to it (whether we want this or not), and need to be aware of the situations that surround us. With that said, we need to explore and embrace balance as we inquire about the news. So, how do we achieve balance and avoid over-consumption? What I have found successful in my own life is dividing the articles I’m interested in reading into three categories: Interesting, Necessary, and Spare me! When you decide to check out the news, skim through the articles and decide which category each one falls into. Is it something you want to know because it interests you? Is it something you need to know because it directly affects you or your loved ones? Or would you rather get major carpet burn than read it? If it falls into that last category, get rid of it. If it falls into one of the other categories, keep reading.

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

It isn’t about you. The fact is, what you read in the news is not a direct attack against you. When we are engulfed in the latest news bulletins, it seems as if we are being singled out. The reality is that the media has their own agenda. Realizing every broadcast source has a big picture goal to achieve helps to keep you from becoming too emotionally involved. When it comes to disturbing current events that are relevant to my life in some way, I often retreat and process the information for a bit. If you have jumped into that cold, dark, slimy pit of negativity, here is how you can climb out.

ACTIVATE YOUR POWER

Step away. Sometimes we have to step away from everything. Put the paper down or step away from the computer. Gather your thoughts and journal them. Reach out to an understanding friend, or write a filter-free letter to the person or group you are disappointed with, then throw it away or burn it. This gives you the opportunity to voice what you want to say without the worry of judgment.

Find the positives. It can be so difficult to see the light in issues such as violence, social injustices, and greed. I guarantee you can always find at least one ray of hope. For example, women are still fighting for equal pay, yet our strength and resilience continues to overcome all odds. Female-owned businesses are flourishing. Us ecofeminists are banding together to protect the sustainability of Mother Earth and the rights of women. Women are a prime example of how to triumph darkness with light.

Find a positive story that contradicts the negative. I have found that no matter how bad the news is, I can find another story proving that somewhere in the world, good is happening, and that the negative stuff is not the end all. Every day, we hear about the racial tension in the U.S. Recently, after reading the newspaper, I found myself angry and hopeless about racial peace. Shortly after, I came across a story of a white supremacist prisoner and an African-American parole officer who are now friends because of the kindness she showed him. I was moved by his willingness to expose his vulnerability by sharing his story. My shirt was wet from tears and hope was restored.

Join a group or organization that brings awareness. If you are a social media guru, use that to your benefit and join a group that focuses on bringing awareness to that particular cause. If you are hot as the dickens over poachers continuing to kill innocent animals for sport, find an Instagram group that opposes this behavior as much as you do, and advocates on behalf of animals. Does the thought of people not having access to healthy food bother you? Consider joining a Facebook group that plants community gardens around your hometown. If social media isn’t your thing, find an in-person group that takes actions against the injustices that are being faced in your country.

Use your platform. If you can’t find it, create it. Create your own group or organization that brings awareness. Determine your mission and vision, research the steps you need to take, and make it happen. I know it seems everything is about the “likes” these days. Do not allow numbers or fear to discourage you. Whatever the size of your platform, use it to invite others who want to change the world as you do, in an active and positive way. Activate your power.

Imagine what would happen if each person took at least one of these steps every time they found themselves angry, disappointed, or frustrated with current events. The optimistic impact would begin to far outweigh the pessimistic influence. It only takes one person to start a domino effect. Be that “one.” Let’s challenge ourselves to use our power to bring peace, unity, and love to a world that is in desperate need of it.