Want a way to free up space in your mental parking lot? Try not watching the news.
What Are You Letting In?
Have you considered the type of information you voluntary allow yourself to be exposed to and how this either benefits or hinders what you’re trying to accomplish each day? With an ever-increasing demand for your attention, taking a few moments to consider this question could have a positive change your life. It did for me.
A few years ago, I significantly reduced the amount of news that I was consuming each day. I’m intentionally using the word consume to describe viewing the news. You begin by consuming the news and it ends up consuming you.
When I was consuming the news (TV, newspaper, internet) I felt as if I was informing myself of local, national and world events. What I was really doing was adding more to worry about that I have no control over, that may or not even come true, that was some else’s opinion of news.
“It’s amazing to me that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits in the newspaper.” Jerry Seinfeld
Do you consume lots of news each day or week? Do you have a desire to know what is happening all the time (or even most of the time)? It’s an addictive pursuit that will never be satisfied for long because there is always more things in the world that are happening.
“I got addicted. News, particularly the daily news, is more addictive than crack cocaine, more addictive than heroin, more addictive than cigarettes.” Dan Rather
Reducing the News in Your Life
To get started, try this: Don’t intentionally consume news for a week.
Just take it day by day for the week and don’t resist it too much. The news will enter your life whether you want it to or not. You may also have valid reasons for why you consume the news. For example: if you job or life situation depends on certain types of news (e.g., financial news, sports, weather, etc). If you’re concerned that you’ll miss something important because of not watching the news, relax because you’ll likely hear about it from someone else.
Here are some tips:
- Internet – use google or a similar homepage that is blank and doesn’t have news updates (TV, paper, internet, taking with people).
- People – when people ask your thoughts on a recent news event, let them know that you haven’t been watching the news (or are trying to remove the news from your daily life). After a while, they will stop asking you. If you’re the person who informs others of the news, find other common interests to discuss.
- TV – don’t watch the news. If this is difficult for you, replace this time with something more productive and/or enjoyable for you (e.g., watch a movie, read a book, take a walk, talk to a friend or loved one).
- Newspaper – if you read the paper each day, find another activity that contributes to your daily goals instead.
What do you think? What type of impact does the news have on you?