[This is one of a series of 30-Day Experiments to do this year instead of New Year’s resolutions.]
Imagine if shoveling junk food into your body were such an ingrained part of your life that you didn’t even realize it was bad for you. You would always feel tired and drained, but you wouldn’t know that you could feel any different. It would be just “the way things are,” and it would never occur to you that the source of that feeling might be the food you’re eating.
That’s exactly what’s happening for millions of people around the country with the news. Every day, people are shoveling piles of tragedy, violence, and scandal into their brain. And they have been doing it so regularly, for so long, that they have no idea what life would feel like without it.
In this 30-Day Experiment, go 30 days without watching or reading the news.
Why try a news fast? At its simplest, because what you feed your brain creates the way you see the world. And the way you see the world creates the world you experience. So ask yourself, “Do I see the world I want to experience on the news?” (I doubt the answer is yes.)
OK, I’ll admit. I have a bias against the modern news. So don’t take my word for it. Take a look at the research, like this study on psychological effects of watching negative news…
“So not only are negatively valenced news broadcasts likely to make you sadder and more anxious, they are also likely to exacerbate your own personal worries and anxieties…”
And this study…
“These findings demonstrate that watching the news on television triggers persisting negative psychological feelings that could not be buffered by attention-diverting distraction (i.e., lecture), but only by a directed psychological intervention such as progressive relaxation.”
And this one…
“Watching media coverage of traumatic events such as 9/11 can cause negativestress reactions or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Individuals can be significantly affected by media events even though they were not present and only watched them on television.”
The best part of doing an experiment like this is you get to see for yourself whether it has any impact on you are not! If it doesn’t, just chalk it up to ol’ Curt bein’ a windbag and go back to your regular news diet.
Begin the experiment by examining your habit. Ask yourself questions like:
- Why do I need to consume the news? What purpose does it serve?
- What is this news consumption adding to my life?
- What if I don’t watch/read the news? What is the risk?
Once you’re done with the 30-Day Experiment, ask yourself some more questions.
- Did it feel any different not to watch the news? Better? Worse?
- What did I miss?
- What do I want to add back into my life?
- What do I want to stay away from?
If you decide to take this 30-Day Experiment on, keep us posted here on how it goes!
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Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM
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