Switch off the news. How limiting all the negativity can boost our wellbeing.

on Wed 7 Aug

What you’re watching, reading and listening to on a daily basis really matters.

Why?

When we focus on the negative all the time, when we look for what’s wrong rather than what’s right, we’re more prone to feeling negative emotions.  We’re more prone to depression and anxiety.

Training our brain to look for the negative in everything and where we're lacking in life is super easy in this day and age.  We’re bombarded with negatively biased news every day, detailing all manner of horrors and If you weigh up the positive to negative ratio of news stories and documentaries for that matter, it would be heavily weighted on the doom and gloom side.

Add in social media and the obsession with what we haven’t got, and we have the perfect conditions for cultivating a pessimistic outlook. 

Now, there’s been some heavyweight research around the pitfalls of a pessimistic outlook and how it’s detrimental to our well-being. Check out Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism to find out more.

The point I’m making is we’re unconsciously wiring our brain to feel negative, to feel worse, without realising it. And this applies to our kids too. 

I’m not saying we should become all happy-clappy or stick our heads in the sand about what’s happening in the world.  What I’m saying is we can become more conscious of what, where, when and how we stay informed.  If you’re switching on the news first thing in the morning, it’s how you start your day!!!  If you’ve got news headlines popping up on your phone and other social media stuff on constant alert, you literally have no escape from this stuff.

And this can really take its toll…even if you’re not aware of it.

So, what can we do to help ourselves and our family? Here are some ideas:

  • Family movies: Watch films with an inspiring, positive, growth orientated message. 
  • Morning routine: Avoid mindlessly switching on the news first thing in the morning. Start your day on a more positive note. Find something different that inspires and works for you.
  • Switch it off: Turn off alerts on your phone and switch off the radio if you don't want to listen to news when everyone is in the car. It’s easy to take this stuff in without realising it.
  • Schedule it: Choose when and how you’ll stay up to speed and stick to it. 

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