9 Tips for Reducing News Media Overwhelm
Each day brings more bad news, as reported by the mainstream media. That’s just how the news media works – if there were no crises to dramatize, no one would bother to pay attention. Not that there isn’t plenty of real suffering, violence, and injustice happening in the world.
We’re seeing the end times of the patriarchy, and it’s not pretty.
You want to be compassionate; you long to be part of the solution rather than just another piece of the problem. Basically, you want to be an informed and involved citizen. At the same time, your intuition calls you to embrace the Feminine Divine’s values, which are at odds with those of our culture. You’re seeking connection, collaboration, and creativity – yet the world you see reflected in the media is full of competition, divisiveness, and conformity.
What gives? How can you avoid getting overwhelmed by the news, without sticking your head in the proverbial sand and just wishing it would stop?
Here are some tips for managing the daily news, on your own terms.
- Upgrade your focus. You know that the more you focus on the blessings in your life, the more you’ll bring them to the forefront. The news media does the opposite.
You get to choose the main focus of your attention each day. Rather than adopt the assumptions of the mainstream media, develop your own. You might decide that the world is beautiful, and despite its challenges, is overall a truly good place to be. When you do choose to take in the news, keep your own focus and see the problems in that context.
- Consider your sources. I was listening to NPR on my way to my parents’ house. They were talking about an upcoming hurricane and calmly gave information about where it might hit and the preparations people were making in various locales. I arrived at my destination, and my Dad had the evening network TV news on. Right away I noticed the contrast as the dramatic music swelled and the announcer spoke of the IMMINENT DEVASTATION that was coming – potentially, mind you. It hadn’t even happened yet! Same story, entirely different approach.
Certain news sources are better than others. Some sources strive to play your emotions like a violin. They purposefully generate fear and worry. Avoid those.
- Balance news with inspiration. Just as you’re in charge of your main focus and the news sources you choose, you can also choose to balance what you take in. Don’t let the TV or radio drone away in the background all day, feeding angst to your subconscious mind. Choose an inspiring audio-book for your commute, or play your favorite music. Block the posts from your negative relatives or friends on social media, and upgrade your news feed with inspiring quotes and interesting projects.
Make sure the input you choose each day includes a healthy dose of inspiration.
- Be grateful. For most of us, the joys in our lives actually outweigh the problems. We forget, though, since problems are often loud and insistent. Pay more attention to what’s going right than what’s going wrong. Gratitude is a perfect way to encourage this shift in focus.
Make a list each day of 10 things, people, or experiences you’re thankful for.
- Make conscious choices. Sure, the things you hear about on the news are overwhelming. You can’t single-handedly solve racial injustice, global warming, or world hunger. But the smaller choices you make each day do add up. Change happens when more of us choose to recycle, buy organic food, donate to worthy causes, and start conversations with our neighbors.
Make choices in your daily life that reflect your true values, and you’re part of the solution.
- Unplug regularly. Take a 24-hour break from TV, radio, internet, and yes, even your phone. Some people do this weekly, taking Sunday to unplug and be with loved ones. If that doesn’t work for you, try a monthly media fast. Go outside and enjoy the natural world. Talk with a friend. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Play with kids and pets. Read a book. Write in your journal. Just be yourself, free of the incessant chatter of the media.
- Notice the good news. Make an effort to seek out articles about what’s going right in the world. There’s plenty, though you wouldn’t know it from the daily newscasts. Actually, despite what we hear, violence and war have been decreasing steadily over the past 50 years. Look it up.
- Reduce your consumption. You can reduce your news consumption drastically and still know about the important things that are going on.
I practice this myself. One or two days a week I work at a public radio station, and on the days when I’m not there, I mostly don’t bother with the news. Yet I still stay informed on the issues. We’re trained to this 24-7 news cycle, but if you pay attention, most events or issues get repeated, re-broadcast, and analyzed over days and days.
You can find out what you need to know in much less time than you might think.
- Upgrade your filters. As a sensitive person, you might find yourself awash in the pain and suffering you hear about in the news media. It’s overwhelming, even in small doses. Grounding yourself in spiritual practices such as meditation and visualization will help you to stay compassionate while not giving way to despair. Set up an energy filter, which allows in only that which serves and uplifts you. Develop a practice of saying prayers or sending healing energies to those who are suffering.
You can’t help anyone if you’re an emotional mess. Strengthen your energy system and you’ll be much more available to work for positive change.
When you find yourself getting overwhelmed by what you hear on the news – or see on your Facebook feed – try some of these tips in order to reduce the effects of “the dreaded news” on your daily life. You’ll be glad you did. You get to choose what you focus on – cheers for caring for yourself!