Bad news can sometimes feel like a tsunami – especially when the media corporations, social networks and internet trolls compound it.
One newsworthy story can lead to a ton of articles and generate thousands of comments by trolls on all sides, filling your news feed with all types of negativity and an all round bad impression of humanity, or the apparent lack of.
A few years ago, as I found my anxiety peaking (yet again), panic attacks striking at odd moments, and my mood shifting, I decided to actively focus more on the positive things in life. This meant cutting a few things out of my life including gossip mags, newspapers, news sites, and more. I also (mostly) stopped watching the news ESPECIALLY when traumatic events happened throughout the world. In retrospect, this was triggered by my responses to various world events, including the tendency to binge-watch and read news story after news story. This would leave me saddened and stressed out by what was going on in the world, and an increased feeling of fear.
So, what can you do when you’re surrounded by bad news?
1. Avoid the news!
Some call it blissful ignorance, but I call it a good thing!
Yep, the best thing to do is to avoid the news at all costs. And by news I mean news in its many formats including TV, newspaper, magazines, news feeds on Facebook, Twitter trending hashtags, I mean everything.
Some may also call you ignorant. They may even say you’re in denial and that you’re not being realistic. Well, I see it more as self-preservation and choosing to see the brighter side of life. It’s also about being in control of what information you are taking in at any given moment. Only when you are ready. Only when the propaganda machine has died down. THAT is when you can choose to dip your toes into the media pond and decide what you will and won’t digest. You can also make a smarter decision about where you get this information from (i.e. reliable sources).
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. – Helen Keller
2. Don’t entertain trolls
When I’ve read a good article I tend to make the error of scrolling down to read the comments. Big mistake in almost every case. As my anger and frustration peaks I find myself composing witty or damning retorts to shut them down, or just sitting there perplexed over the amount of idiots and mean people who haunt the internet.
So what do you do?
DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
That’s it! Don’t read comments, do not reply to comments, and delete general horribleness.
Also before you follow or respond to everyone, check they are on par with your own values – that they are someone you actually want to connect with. And if you make a mistake, no biggy. Just unfollow, unlike, jump ship – and don’t feel bad about it!
3. Talk about everything and anything else
Add the news to the list of things you don’t talk about, along with religion and politics (unless you are with your kind of people, that is). The thing is, some people just love to carry on about a topical news item.
So what do you do?
As a general rule of thumb I don’t do small talk BUT I do love stupid talk and a good heartfelt story. Movies, books, TV shows, travel, geeky fan-girl stuff, music, life, love, lessons learned and all that stuff. And if it makes me laugh, even better!
Tune out and tune in to those directly in front of you. I guarantee there’s plenty you don’t know about them, and that once you both open up, you will find much more interesting stuff to talk about then what’s happening in the news.
Note: the exception to this rule is if you and the other party are polar opposites… in this case silence is the best option!.
Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up. – Allen Klein
4. Flood the internet with positive stuff
There’s a reason why there’s so many quotes, memes, and other inspirational shit on the internet. Because it makes most of us FEEL good and it detracts from all the negative stuff going on in the world or in our personal lives.
Sure, they annoy some people, but generally people love a good positive story, quote, picture, meme, video…
So what do you do?
We can all do our bit and create a positivity tsunami. Flood the internet.
Good news, kindness, gratitude, positivity – sprinkle that shit everywhere.
What about when bad news is everywhere you turn, even when you are trying to escape it by avoiding the news?
I had this problem a few months ago. Avoiding the news worked well. That is until Facebook introduced the news feed function. Now, each time I flick to Facebook my eyes can’t help but see the trending headlines. It’s like a car accident. You can’t help but look!
So what do you do?
The only real solution is to tune out completely – to unplug and spend some glorious time offline.
But going cold turkey, when so many of us are addicted to all things online, can be a challenge. So here’s some ideas you can step through (baby steps!) to help you on your way to unplugging:
- Turn off the TV
- Don’t listen to the radio
- Remove Apps from your smartphone (start with Facebook – this also doubles as a timesaver!)
- Curate your feeds wisely – read content that’s positive and enhances your life
- Unsubscribe from news sites and blogs
- Turn off all notifications
- Leave your phone at home
- Unplug completely – start with a few hours, then a day, and work up to a few days or even a week.
Yes, I’ve had some lapses in judgment and still get riled up by the odd news story, but generally I’m a hell of a lot happier, less anxious and positive, with a good opinion of most people in the world. Yeah, I’ve become a glass half full person after years of being a glass half empty person, and the best news is – you can become one too!
Positive anything is better than negative nothing. – Elbert Hubbard
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