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Four Signs You’re Watching Too Much News

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Laurie and husband, Randy, don’t know how much news they can take.

By Laurie Stone

You know the feeling. If you see one more all red, all caps “Breaking News” flash, you’re gonna blow. There’s too much coming at us too often. Where in earlier days, there would be an interesting story once or twice a month, now the constant news cycle brings us a new or updated story once or twice a day, sometimes hourly. Here are four signs you’re on news overload — and what you can do about it.

You’ve Become a News Junkie

Ahh, the good old days when I watched the news at my own discretion. Not anymore. The world has become a soap opera with more plot twists than Downton Abbey. I can’t turn away. Beyond that, I read many more publications than I used to — The New York Times, Guardian, HuffPost, Washington Post, Vox, Medium, Mad Magazine, the Farmer’s Almanac, anything and everything to catch up.

I read op-eds by the bucketload — for understanding, commiseration and sometimes a laugh. There’s nothing better than a writer who hits that sweet spot — saying all the right things at the right moment.

You’re Glad You’re Not a Journalist

By now, there must be triage units set up in broadcast centers. I picture reporters lying on gurneys with oxygen masks, taking deep breaths. As a small-town reporter, I learned you have to know about issues (for me, town septic systems and school board problems) before you can report on them.

I can’t imagine having to decipher the daily torrent of stories — Russian connections, possible nuclear war, monster hurricanes, terror attacks, senate hearings, elections, racial tension, marches, protests. Sometimes all at the same time. It’s exhausting to listen to. I can’t imagine having to make it all understandable.

You Wake Up Worrying

I’ve always been skittish in the mornings. These days, I find myself checking the news as soon as I get up. Is the world still spinning? Can I get breakfast or am I going to open my door to some nuclear winter that happened while I slumbered?

The strange thing is that many times something big did happen. Another tweet feud is brewing. Some world leader is majorly pissed at another. Yet another senseless bombing or shooting or stabbing or hammering took place. Half the time, I want to pull the covers back over my head.

You Compare This News to Your Childhood News

I grew up during Vietnam, which was no garden party. But it feels different today. I don’t remember so much hatred between races, religions, genders and region. It seems to be escalating. We need a red Easy Button to push and make everyone calm down.

I see how my children and grandchildren will grow up in a more volatile, unpredictable world. Yes, the ’60s were scary with their nightly military death toll, race riots and political assassinations. But children today see this (and sometimes far worse) broadcast daily. I worry for them.

In the meantime, what do we do? How can we escape the constant litany of problems we can’t solve and events we have no control over?

Mother Nature to the Rescue

Guess what? I found it. The solution was right outside my door, right before my eyes. I only had to look away from my television, computer or cell phone for a few moments.

Yes, I found the answer in my back yard.

I found it in the eternal world, otherwise known as nature.

I feel this realm when I see a beautiful blue sky or hear the wind or run my hand along the rough bark of some old tree. I see it in insects or the lush greenery of Connecticut. I see it when a red cardinal flutters by or fall leaves are at their most gorgeous or the lazy hum of a bumblebee is in the air.

Corny?  Maybe.  But this world was here long before us and will be here long after we’re gone.

Nature is indifferent, which I find strangely soothing. Generations from now all these urgent issues will be in history books — no doubt, many as cautionary tales. Others will be forgotten.

Somehow we’ll survive. It won’t be easy. But we’ll make it, as generations have before. And generations will after us.

Ahh, I think, taking one last sniff of the apple-scented fall air, thank you, Mother Nature for helping me turn away from yet another, urgent “Breaking News” story.

I needed that.

24 Responses to “Four Signs You’re Watching Too Much News”

  1. Carla says:

    Oh my goodness this captures me from about last October until a few weeks ago. I had to pull the plug in a fit of self-preservation!

  2. Yes, the earth does not care what Trump said today. It has been here forever and will be here far beyond all of our human nonsense. I find that so reassuring these days!

  3. Haralee says:

    You aren’t kidding Laurie! Do I contribute to my retirement account if I am living on the brink of nuclear war or going to rounded up by marauding Nazi? Where is that apple tree?

  4. Ann M. donnelly says:

    This blog is one that everyone can relate to . It helps to see one’s feelings articulated during this very unsettling time. Well done Laurie!

  5. Barbara says:

    I’m right there with you, Laurie! I wake up in the morning and check my phone before I get out of bed. The WaPo Daily 202, the NYT, and whatever else has blown up in the middle of the night. I know it’s not good for my health but, I feel compelled because there’s some crazy crap happening 10 times a day! I live in a beautiful area with lots of country and beach, so I need to leave my phone downstairs at night so I can at least have a cup of coffee before my heart beats out of my chest…again!
    b

  6. I have to say it’s been a very stressful time these last few months. We are seeing so much negativity and I fell into the trap of 24/7 news too. It was NOT good for my health. I’m trying to get out with my dog, training and just walking. Anything you can do really, that is real and natural is going to take the stress and depression off!

  7. Diane says:

    Ah, yes. The nature channel. Much better! 🙂

  8. Haha….loved the humour in this post….I intentionally stay away from hard news because it just gets me agitated….This reminds me why I never let my hubby get the remote during dinner…it’s definitely news (hard news) once he gets the remote

  9. Ellen Dolgen says:

    OMG………………you are so right! We watch too much news. My husband is a news junkie. I find myself telling him that I need to switch to a fun, entertaining program as the news lately is very disturbing and depressing. Often I find myself yelling at the TV. I never did that before. This is a very bad sign! Thank you for the reminder to turn it off and go find joy in the day by going outside and enjoying nature. It always does lift my mood when I am outside.

  10. I walk every morning for an hour and it’s my favorite time of day. But then at around 4, we turn on the news. We’ve become addicted to the soap opera and it isn’t pretty.

  11. Nature has always been the answer for me. Step outside. Listen to the sounds. Smell the air. See the sky. In joy or sorrow, ups and downs, nature is the answer.

    I go on news fasts too – that REALLY helps. I don’t need to hear every opinion – it’s just someone’s opinion, not fact!

  12. Laurie Stone says:

    Carla, I have to do that more. I always seem to be pulled back in.

  13. Laurie Stone says:

    Laura, It gives a sense of perspective, doesn’t it?

  14. Laurie Stone says:

    Haralee, I seem to need those apple trees more and more.

  15. Laurie Stone says:

    Thanks so much, Ann! I think we’re all feeling very vulnerable.

  16. Laurie Stone says:

    Barbara, We’re so lucky to live in beautiful places. Now we just have to get away from the news!

  17. Laurie Stone says:

    Evelyne, I also find animals to be wonderful during these times. They’re happily oblivious, which is calming.

  18. Laurie Stone says:

    Diane, They should have channels of nothing but beauty for us poor victims of this scary world.

  19. Laurie Stone says:

    Phaytea, My husband can watch cable news 24/7. I don’t know how he does it.

  20. Laurie Stone says:

    Ellen, My husband is the same way and I’m always yelling at the tv. I’ve even scared the dog a few times.

  21. Laurie Stone says:

    Rebecca, We do the same thing. I can stay away most of the day, but then comes that siren song of early evening! Must see what’s happening.

  22. Laurie Stone says:

    Yes, Cathy. And how fast the top story today becomes old news tomorrow. It’s all temporary while nature is the real, permanent world.

  23. I know the feeling, Laurie! Glad we got rid of the television! I try not to read too much news, while still staying updated.

  24. Laurie Stone says:

    Corinne, You’re wise to control the media input. That’s the only way to stay sane.

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