It’s gotten so the news, for me, is like an ongoing train wreck. I can’t look/I can’t look away. After a cursory scan of headlines on a single page, in a single moment, the following splash across my screen: “681 Missing, Dead after Indonesian Tsunami”; “Foreclosure Mess Will Last for Years”; “3 Fatally Shot in Mo., Gunman Remains at Large.”
I need a Xanax just to navigate a news site.
And when I thought my hypersensitivity had reached an apex, a colleague with an extensive history in newspapers told me that, during her days at the daily, she and her team would secretly hope for “fire, blood or flood.” Tragedy sells. Good news sinks.
Yet we cannot detach from world events. It’s too important that we know about natural disasters, diseases, economic woes and terror threats. Knowledge is power. It can also be powerfully depressing.
So how do I combat the “news blues” in our society? The following helps:
1) Faith: Prayer, for lack of a better word, works. It quiets the mind. Even if I think my prayers are futile, the physiological benefits linger.
2) Family: Hanging out with my parents, Jim and Carole, my sister, Lauren, and her two little girls, Rory and Cameron, is my weekly elixir. Works every time.
3) Humor: Crass, dry, slapstick, inappropriate, sarcastic, ridiculous, nonsensical…I don’t care. Laughter can lower stress, fight colds, increase vascular blood flow and improve alertness and creativity.
4) Friends: No time spent with good friends is wasted time. They’re like family with less baggage.
5) Google: Websites that focus exclusively on positive news are aplenty. Enter “good news” in the Google search engine and give yourself a break.
Some weeks ago, I reread Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. One diary entry in particular—perhaps the most famous one—rings truest in terms of surviving sadness and apathy in today’s turbulent world:
“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”
Photo: Idea go