No News IS Good News!
I have a confession to make. I used to be a news junkie… and when I say news junkie, I’m talking hard-core news junkie. For more than a decade, CNN was my favorite channel (followed by Discovery, Science, History, H2, and SyFy). I knew everything that was going on in the world, I could debate both sides of any issue, and I was caught up in the emotion that accompanied each story. I spent hours glued to the TV (or at the very least listening to it), absorbing every detail multiple times, hoping for some new development.
Then came the 2012 U.S. election cycle. The presidential campaign was nasty, but the congressional campaigns were even nastier. I was so sickened by the constant barrage of criticism, nastiness, and overall incivility I stopped watching the news. After the elections, I tentatively started watching the news again, but I quickly regretted my decision and switched off ALL news channels for good. I never looked back.
So what changed? I did. When I committed myself to a journey of personal growth and self-discovery, I realized that one of the contributing factors to my lifelong struggle with depression (aside from physiological causes) was my obsession with the news. The saying, “If it bleeds, it leads,” is standard in the news industry, and that is the literal truth.
Just tune into any news channel and within 5 minutes you’ll be convinced that the world is falling apart – and that’s just from watching the commercials. Pharmaceutical ads dominate the news channels, bombarding us with warnings of damaged kidneys, failing hearts, ravaged livers, and oh… possible death. Wars, famine, dysfunctional politics, suicide bombings, along with an endless cycle of killings and revenge killings dominate the news. It’s enough to depress the most healthy and well-adjusted person, let alone someone who is already predisposed to that condition.
After turning my back on CNN (and the other news channels) I went into “news detox,” allowing myself reflect on the reality around me. I came to understand the old cliché of “no news is good news.” In my case, turning off the news channels allowed me to refocus my attention on the beauty that is around me. I discovered that I’m surrounded by everyday acts of kindness, of love, and of compassion. Humanity isn’t driven by rage or hatred, it’s driven by a desire to love and to be loved. We’re driven by a passionate desire to be happy and to thrive, and so we instinctively look for ways to relate to each other, in spite of our differences. My “ah-ha” moment came when I realized that the reason why mainstream news outlets focus on so much negativity is because that negativity is the exception, NOT the rule.
And now I have another confession to make. My news addiction never really went away… I merely changed my focus. I discovered the Flipboard app, which allows me to choose the type of news I read. I downloaded it to my iPad and started reading about all of the incredible, awesome, POSITIVE things that are happening around me. Every day I learn about new breakthroughs in medicine and technology, and I’m discovering the creative ways humanity is using to solve the challenges that face us. I’m filled with hope and joy, and I truly believe that our best days are ahead of us, not behind us.
If I were to offer one reflection, it’s this: Our focus determines our reality. We get to choose our focus every day, every moment. Knowing this, what will you choose as your focus?
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.