Want Less Bad News? Stop Paying Attention To It
People follow tragedy
We focus on it, talk about it, obsess over it, and debate the reasons for it. It even came up in one of our editorial meetings the other day. Some of our most viewed blog posts of last year talked about the various unspeakable tragedies that happened.
Tragedy sells, but I'm not buying.
I don't watch it or pay attention to it. I believe our attention to it perpetuates it and makes it happen more and more often.
After one of these horrific events happens, the majority of our country, and even the world, is looking at the TV, computer and phone screen thinking "death" and "another shooting in a school" and "why are these terrible things happening?" and "who is to blame for this?" so we are focusing the most powerful instrument on the Earth, the human brain, collectively, on negativity. That creates more of negativity.
My attention to tragedy usually doesn't help them, or me
There is very little chance that thinking about mass murder, natural disasters, or problems with the politicians of our country is going to do me any good. I don't believe it adds value to my day or life. It doesn't make me happy, and my attention to it doesn't help to solve the problem.
Not paying attention to it doesn't mean that I don't think we should help. When action from me can help, it's always very obvious. I send prayers of positivity, and if it seems like it's needed, money. When things hit close to home, radio has long been one of the biggest fundraisers, and in those cases I focus on the celebration of the community coming together to support others. It's a beautiful thing that comes out of the flames, floodwaters, and windstorms.
I focus on positive and worthy desires
What I look at and pay attention to is what I want. There is not much snow in the mountains right now, so my screensaver is a picture of a powder day. I want to see my wife smiling, so that is my home screen on my phone. I want adventures and fun out of this life so I am surrounded by images and indications of good times.
If they are negative, turn them off
I turn off radio stations that are delving deep into the world's problems. I cannot watch network news, and cable news channels are about the most negative streams of programming imaginable. I browse some of their websites daily to make sure I am informing TRI 102.5's audience, but other than that most of those stories are not applicable.
I've even cut out some of my favorite old bands. No dark music, or at least not much. Angst, anger and some other negative emotions have inspired some of the best art I have seen (see Muse, Van Gogh) so I allow a little bit of that in. I also love Law and Order, but I try to only watch it a few times a month so I'm not constantly immersed in thoughts of 'homicide, murder, death, crime'.
Avoid the 'Outrage' Network
There are shows, and it seems like, entire stations that are dedicated to being outraged at what has happened. These people go into the minutia of why things are so bad. They huff, look taken aback, and try to figure out who is to blame for these horrible things. This programming is designed to do one thing--make us mad. If they make us mad, they may be able to enlist us in their cause. If they do that, they have done their job, and that is to put eyes on the commercials that play between their exasperated ravings. Don't give them the energy. There are too many good, beautiful things that we can give ourselves to. Look at the commercials on those outlets.