These hot, sultry days of August are some of the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer. But the heat doesn’t stop with the weather. Temperatures, or should I say temperaments, of all kinds seem to be running high. I see it most in the never ending flow of bad news. With a little forethought, preparation and intention, you can sidestep the drama, stress and duress of the news feed. Read on for 8 tips on how to stop the madness. But first let’s start with the perceivable truth.
Yes, there’s bad news.
It seems that no matter where you are in the world there’s something negative going on. Throughout the day there are news updates about something that’s happening in politics, natural disasters, man made problems or injustices. It’s hard to stay focused on work, let alone life and love and joy. Our mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to be easeful, peaceful and free.
But this isn’t anything you can’t handle.
If you’ve been having trouble staying focused, here are 8 on how to thrive despite the news. You can use both now and for the rest of your life.
- Keep your focus in your sphere of influence. If you cannot influence a situation don’t let it monopolize your attention. Do not, I repeat, do not get caught up in thinking or worrying about what you cannot change or control. Instead focus on what you can influence. But don’t stick you head in the sand and pretend everything is OK either.
- Get involved. Stop and think about what really important to you. Pick an issue, determine what you can do to support it. Then do that. I can’t save the world but I can uplift those who are open to it. So I do that.
- Turn off notifications. The latest scandal or revelation can wait until the end of your workday. The news is like a soap opera. You can miss a few episodes, and then watch one episode and you’ll be all caught up. If you must watch the news, do so in the evening. Set the tone of every day with something positive like gratitude journaling or meditation.
- Cull social media. Block people who insist on endlessly recycling news or can’t keep it civil. Follow people who uplift you. Visit sites that relate to your career or interests and stay out of the newsfeed. The Internet isn’t a great place for meaningful dialogue of any kind. Keep that face-to-face.
- Find your tribe. Spend a little time talking to (or protesting with) people who understand how this current cycle makes you feel. You’ll feel less alone, less like you’re losing your mind when you are surrounded by people who understand you. These are the people you share you hopes, dreams and fears with.
- Listen to people who’re different from you. We are all trying to fulfill our needs to feel safe. Even if you disagree how someone is approaching a situation, know they are trying their best to feel seen and understood. So have a little compassion, don’t judge. Listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to agree. Just try to hear to what they are saying.
- Find sources you trust. We live in an age in which journalism has been democratized. Which means, anybody who can type can write news. With freedom comes responsibility. So we have to take responsibility for ourselves. Be discerning about the news you consume. Develop your own ‘news-nose’ and make sure you know where facts are coming from.
- Gather your own facts. Go beyond the hype and headlines and be your own detective. Check sources. Thanks to Google it’s as easy to check facts, as it is to search for anything else. Take control.
With a little effort you can reap the benefits of these tips for years.
Yes, determining to what degree you’re going to get involved, picking what notifications you’ll turn off, culling you social, intentionally picking your tribe, finding ways to hear other peoples point of view and finding sources from all sides will take time, but with a little effort you can reap the benefits of these tips for years, if not for the rest of you life. If you need a little more proof as to why it’s worth all the effort, here’s a TEDTalks by Steven Pinker entitled “Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers.” Take a look. You’ve got this. Take care of you. Do you think it’s worth your effort to control the news that flood into your space?