For about 16 months between 2014 and 2015, in a bit to have a brighter outlook on life, I stopped reading the news. The various RSS feeds I subscribed to were removed from the reader. The websites I would frequent were left unread. The sorts of accounts I would follow on social media drastically changed. An incredibly noticeable change in my attitude occurred within the first two weeks, and it was positive enough that I started to create more often than complain. Earlier this year, though, I started reading the news again in order to keep up with conversations people were having around me on topics that I knew almost nothing about … and my outlook on the world began to slip downwards again.
If keeping up with the world means subjecting myself to an incredible amount of frustration and anger at the sheer lunacy of what make it to the front pages of news sites around the globe, why do it? Just because I know a horrible thing has happened does not necessarily mean that I can do something about it.
I cannot do anything about the various atrocities that take place in the name of various terrorist organizations. I cannot prevent an angry, xenophobic old man from running for president of the United States. I cannot do anything (of note) to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Ignoring these very real issues will not make them go away. Ignoring them will, however, bring a little peace of mind.
So, starting today, I'll be staying away from the various news sites that I typically read. I will stay away from the TV news that shows brief snippets of the insanity that permeates the 24-hour news cycle. And I'll use this extra time to … relax. To simply disconnect from the glowing screens and be present in the real world … or listen to a podcast … or play with my dog. Words mean things, and it seems the tens of thousands of words that I consume are having an adverse effect. Clearly I'm not cut out to be on top of the news cycle anymore.