For 55 years I’ve been a daily news junkie. Every day I take in information that allows me to experience a wide range of emotions – but mostly sadness and anger at the examples of the human condition reflecting the worst of human nature.
It’s all news about events I have no ability to control. And yet, it can have a negative impact on my thoughts and behavior in the moment. If I’m not conscious of the impact, the negative news can make me be snippy with Cathy when she had nothing to do with the source of my anger.
To prevent allowing my anger or sadness at something over which I have no control spill into my life, I have to very intentionally bring myself back into my personal present moment. Sometimes this takes a lot of energy. I’m beginning to believe that I’m better off shifting all my focus towards things I can control.
So, I’m doing something radical. I’m taking a break from constantly streaming negative news into my overloaded, too sensitive brain. This is major, folks.
Many years ago, good friends of mine told me they never read or listened to current events; never knew the news of the day. One of these friends has gone on to be a very successful senior officer in an international company. She told me at the time, if she really needed to know something, someone would let her know, but she didn’t want the negativity ruining her day.
My other friends were practicing Buddhists. Their well-being completely revolved around their family, their home, their neighborhood and their temple. For them, living in the moment, focusing on the ideas and activities that enriched them was all they needed to live a fulfilling life.
At the time, I thought they were all nuts. I just didn’t get it. Well, I may be a slow learner, but I do come around to a good idea. If constantly ingesting news does not serve my daily aliveness, I’m done with it.
No more listening to vitriol, hate and lies from political news. It irritates me and serves no earthly purpose, except to apparently keep less intelligent, talking heads employed. No more reading and reacting to the Ebola fears of the moment, and the ranting and blaming all the country’s problems on the current sitting President.
No more waking up in the middle of the night constructing internal mental arguments with my less progressive friends. Losing sleep worrying about a lost cause is ineffective, very tiring and lessens my fondness for good people. No more commiserating with my like-minded friends about the stupid, heartless people who don’t think like us.
No more news! No more Facebook news feeds! No more Huffington Post! No more Denver Post! No more Time magazine! No more TV news!
Doing this will give me an extra couple of hours every day to read, study and write about things that enrich my understanding about the larger truths of life, love and connection to family, friends and my present moment.
If the sudden withdrawal gives me the shakes, I’ll methadone with Jon Stewart.
News junkie in recovery,