Local Insights

Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Brielle Bleeker


Tuning Out Can Help Us Tune In

by Brielle Bleeker

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” Nowadays, news is everywhere. Television, newspapers, Internet—it can be hard, if not impossible, to escape the constant barrage of negativity that is broadcast 24/7— 95 percent of the news is negative. There is a lot of good in the world, but unfortunately, that doesn’t make for great ratings or selling more newspapers, and people that watch the media may be led to believe the world is falling apart.

Loretta Garziano-Breuning, author of Meet Your Happy Chemical explains in her article, “Stop Traumatizing Yourself By Watching the News,” that anxiety can result from following the daily headlines because of their strong focus on negativity. She says, “News appeals to your mind’s quest for survival; relevant information, but it doesn’t necessarily meet that need. You can do more when you focus on tangible obstacles in front of you instead of on abstract threats everywhere.”

While news consumption can breed a constant feeling of danger and even paranoia, it can also be difficult to cut off news consumption entirely. It’s unrealistic to live in a bubble to keep out the toxic news; it cannot be avoided. Positive News founder Sean Dagan Wood reflects, “A more positive form of journalism will not only benefit our well-being; it will engage us in society and it will help catalyze potential solutions to the problems that we face.” Because it is unhealthy to focus on the worst in the world, choose to seek out stories that promote happiness and have a positive impact on well-being.

It is important to take control of what is viewed and take breaks when necessary. A national survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health concluded people that experienced a great deal of stress found the biggest contributor to be watching, reading and listening to news. Take action to reduce your news intake. A stronger sense of calm, contentment and patience will result. The smaller, day-to-day things in life will bring about more fulfillment. Take pleasure in simplicity.

By tuning out the negative, we can tune into life and devote more time and energy to the things that matter more, ensuring a feeling of being uplifted
by the good, instead of being brought down by the bad. People tend not to realize the tremendous amount of control we have over our own environment, along with the power to make positive changes for the better. Think about what else could be done in the time devoted to watching and reading the news on a daily basis.

A person doesn’t need a constant newsfeed to stay informed. If necessary, we can catch up quickly on anything through virtually any news forum in
a matter of seconds. Thomas Jefferson said it best with his words of wisdom that fit well with the notion of tuning out the negative. “I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely happier for it.”

Brielle Bleeker, from Bergen County, is a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a contributing writer for Natural Awakenings magazine.

About the Author

Brielle Bleeker is a mother of two from Bergen County, a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a contributing writer for Natural Awakenings magazine.

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