As someone who is very interested in current events, sports, politics, the state of our economy and world, and more – I pay a lot of attention to the news (sometimes more than is probably healthy for me). I read newspapers, check out various news sites/blogs, watch TV, and listen to the radio. With all of this news and information, I’m often struck by how little of it is “good news,” especially these days.
While there is probably a certain amount of negative stuff that is important for us to know about (from a safety and information perspective), if we pay much attention to the media, it’s easy to get the impression that life is really scary, dangerous, and there are lots of terrible things happening all over the place.
In the recent weeks and months there have been some genuinely intense things happening around the world – the situation in Egypt, the tragedy in Japan, the violence in Libya, and more. The state of the job market, gas prices, and the economy here in America and around the world continues to be tenuous and scary for many people.
These things do have real impact on real people – and on many of us personally. However, what about all the good news? There are literally billions of positive things happening all over the planet at this moment – most of which we will never hear about or know about. Think of how much good stuff goes unnoticed, unacknowledged, and un-communicated even in our own personal lives (at home and at work) on a regular basis.
What has been happening in our country, our culture, and our world is a reflection of what is going on within each of us. We can get caught up in the “doom and gloom” of the moment, obsess about all of the issues and challenges facing us today, and allow the bad news coming at us from every angle get to us on a personal level – or we can choose something else.
While I am not advocating that we bury our head in the sand, pretend everything is “fine,” and just ignore what’s happening, I do believe that now more than ever, we must be conscious about what we watch, read, and listen to. Nobody forces us to read the paper or the Internet, turn on the TV or radio, or get caught up in the mass hysteria of how “awful” things are.
And while it is important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, to be mindful and empathetic of the pain and suffering of others, and to do what we can to support those in need – both in our own backyard and across the globe, sitting around worrying, obsessing, and complaining about how “bad” things are doesn’t do us or others any good. As Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive our darkness, only light can do that.”
Here are a few things you can do to focus more on good news:
1) Limit the amount of news you consume. If you’re honest about it, you don’t need to watch, read, or listen to as much as you do in order to stay informed. If this is an issue for you, create a specific time limit per day and have others in your life support you and hold you accountable.
2) Choose news sources that you respect and at some level make you feel good. In other words, notice how you feel personally and emotionally when you watch a particular news show, listen to someone on the radio, or read a newspaper, magazine, or website. If you notice that after watching, listening, or reading you don’t feel so good – maybe you can find another source for your news.
3) Seek out good news. Whether it’s in the media or in your life personally, now more than ever, we must look for and find things to be grateful for, happy about, and excited about. There’s lots of good news out there; it’s up to us to find the good stuff and also to talk about it to others. This is not about avoiding challenges or being in denial about the “reality” of life; it’s about choosing where to put our attention and energy, and focusing in that direction consciously.