We are constantly bombarded by the news, but of course we are because we need to know what’s going on in the world, right? The media has a huge impact on us. Most of us don’t have first-hand knowledge about events going on and so our knowledge is very dependant on the news and the media. It plays a huge role in how people think of the world and also themselves and it might just be affecting our everyday happiness.
Everyone knows that if we eat junk food every day we’ll become unhealthy. The same can be applied to the information we read and pay attention to in everyday news and media outlets. Traditional news has a huge emphasis on the negative and unfortunately the fact is that the majority of news needs tragedy and negativity to sell newspapers or make money. When I really thought about this I decided to test this out and open up the news app on my phone. Sure enough, there were 12 top stories and out of those 12 only 1 story was actually positive. Perhaps it was a particularly bad day? I don’t know.
We all know that journalism is about asking the questions but are journalists always asking the right questions? Questions that will produce a shocking or intriguing story will get the ‘better’ story and in that process we, the readers, don’t end up getting the true view. Now, I realise I’m generalising here – there are many newspapers and news outlets that try their best to keep a fair view but unfortunately the majority don’t do this and as people keeping up with local and world events, we are probably affected by this more than we realise.
There are a lot of bad things that happen in this world and it’s probably right that we should know about them, for example crime, war, injustice or famine but for our happiness to flourish, we need to balance this out with positive subjects. Unfortunately, with 24 hour news many stories are emotionalised or sensationalised to keep the watcher or reader gripped and unnecessarily putting too much emphasis on the entertainment of certain stories rather than an unbiased, constructive type of journalism.
Psychological research has shown that people who are subjected to a range of negative news stories were found to have an increase in anxiety and slight depression. The affect that negative stories have can potentially heighten a range of personal concerns even though they are not specifically relevant to the content of the story itself.
So what should we do? I’m not saying we should avoid news altogether (although this has been done by many people) but perhaps we should lessen the amount of time we spend reading or watching negative news items.
Be aware of how much of the news is unnecessarily negative. Be mindful when taking in the news – ask yourself, is this something I need to know? If not, stop and move on. Be aware of unnecessary sensational and over-emotional stories because we don’t want people playing on our fears or emotions – it’s just non-essential to our well-being.
Cut down on the amount you are exposed to. If there’s something important that you need to know about don’t worry, you’ll find out about it. Otherwise maybe try and cut down on the amount you read or watch. Just catching up quickly in the morning over breakfast may be all you need.
Weed out the positive news items. If you’re reading something, try and focus just on the positive stories – try reading the sports pages first as they tend to be more on the positive side!
Read a positive publication. There’re some wonderful publications out there that just focus on positive news. Positive News is a great website that reports on science, environment, economic and lifestyle topics that are all written with constructive journalism. They even have a print edition if you’re that way inclined! Sunny Skyz and Good News Network are other great websites that emphasises positive stories. I’m not saying this is a way of getting hard-hitting stories but exposing yourself to a more positive element of news will definitely help balance out your perception of the world.
So why not try it out? To be honest, we probably aren’t even aware how much the news affects us on a daily basis and how much it lowers our vibration and ultimately our happiness. We want to keep a positive mindset as much as we can so at the very least, start your day with a happy news story and end your day with one too 🙂