The News is Killing Us

April 18, 2013

Lifestyle

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fearstress
We should not be afraid of a bomb going off in our neighborhood. We should not be afraid of receiving a letter laced with ricin. We should not be afraid North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or any other stan. We should not be afraid of the weather, the latest flu bug or tainted peanut butter. We should not be afraid of airline crashes, car crashes or the stock market crashes. We should be afraid of the news. It’s killing us.

We cannot live healthy lives with unending fear and stress. We weren’t intended to. Fear and stress wreak havoc on a person’s body, literally speeding up the day of our death. Stress can lead to headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, sleep problems and high blood pressure. It can cause your brain to shrink, help cancer cells survive, speed up aging in kids and adults, bring about depression, increase your risk of stroke and heart attacks and it can reduce the effectiveness of our immune system. Read more about the harms of stress here.

Occasional stress on our bodies is acceptable and expected. If a bomb goes off in our city, we should naturally feel stress and our bodies will adjust accordingly to help us get through the situation. What’s not acceptable, and is actually dangerous, is prolonged stress. This is where the news comes in.

I don’t believe all news is harmful. There are occasional pieces that are useful and really benefit the reader. However, newspapers and news sites tend to spew forth an endless supply of horrific deeds from all across the globe. They go from one sensational story to the next. Have you even processed the explosions in Boston? There were more in Texas and Iraq yesterday. When you’re done dwelling on those, there will be more. There’s always more.

The constant exposure to horrific stories on a daily basis ensures one will never experience relief. We need relief. I don’t think a person living in one side of the country needs to hear about every rape, murder, suicide, molestation, shooting and robbery that happens on the other side of the country. Every town and city has enough of it’s own ills, which are hard enough for people to process.

So I’m going to cut out the news from my daily diet. It’s not going to be easy, as old habits are hard to kick. If something important happens, I’m sure I’ll hear about it. In the event I miss something, it will be ok. Somehow children seem to be doing just fine without the news. In fact, they seem much happier than everyone else. Maybe there is a connection.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, this article, (which I just found after writing everything above), should more than persuade you that the news is bad for you.

Some context: I’ve been reading multiple newspapers a day since I was in junior high. As the internet has grown over the past 20 years, the amount of news I’ve consumed has increased considerably. I have, especially over the past few years, grown very weary of the sensationalism that has plagued the news industry. It’s become entertainment, that encourages people to come to wrong conclusions about life and the world.

I wrote this because I want to spend my time as wisely as possible, and I want to encourage you to do the same.

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6 Responses to “The News is Killing Us”

  1. annettep Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Fear-based messages control people. I don’t have cable TV for this reason and I intentionally do not immerse myself in internet news… it’s a continuous loop of mostly recycled news and non-news. I am much happier as I plug into the news a few minutes a day, then plug into more important things in life and living in the present moment.

    Reply

  2. Lincen Townhouse Says:

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philipians 4:8

    Great thoughts, Ryan!

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  3. Quinton Hamp Says:

    Great post! Points that need to be discussed more.

    I love being informed. But I hate being sensationalized.

    Over time (and absence from news), I have developed an inner system that asks “is this something I didn’t know?” “Is it something I need to know?” “Are they using words that are ‘dramatic'”?

    When that happens, I bail.

    I also have had to add one other question: “Can I help the situation?”

    If I can’t, I also bail. Call it “burying my head in the sand”. I call it “keeping my sanity”

    In about 10 minutes a day, I get all of the news I need. Its a tough habit to break, but it keeps us sane. We were never designed for this much input and connection.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      I completely agree. I will still glance at the Google News main page, which is simply a collection of the top stories in all my chosen fields, minus all the hype.

      “We were never designed for this much input and connection.” Totally agree. We get overloaded. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Joe Says:

    Wise words. I’ve been working on reducing my new consumption for a while (talk radio as well) for the very reason that I’ve walked around stressed and bummed out.

    Reply

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