Driving to a meeting last week, I realized that I felt a little "off" so I went through a "self-check" that I often recommend to clients. "What am I feeling physically? Emotionally? Is there worry?" Thoughts of recent conversations regarding the current intense political climate came to mind and a picture emerged of friends and family members whose divergent political views are causing serious rifts in relationships. It seems as though passion and loyalty have given way to belligerence and irrational anger. Intelligent and respectful debates quickly escalate into criticism and ridicule. I wondered what is different now than, say, 10 years ago? The obvious answer is the omnipresence of the news via push notifications to every device we own. Contrast today's bombardment with yesterday's morning newspaper read and perhaps the evening news on television. Imagine an entire 8-10 hours in between with attention focused solely on just living the day at hand!
Can we go back to living that way? Probably not. But we can regain some control over how and what we see and hear and more importantly, how we feel about the world around us.
1) Turn off "push" notifications from social news feeds. Taking charge by "pulling" the news that you want to see gives you more control over both sources and time.
2) Hide click-bait news sources from social media feeds. Many of these can be recognized at a glance simply by the header or name of the source.
2) While it's not realistic to ignore the news of the day completely, it might be helpful to wiselychoose what you read and hear. This means choosing a diverse but balanced array of sources rather than merely reading to reenforce your views.
3) Limit news reading to specific times of the day devoted to becoming informed. For example, morning and evening for reasonable period of time.
4) Find meaningful ways to become engaged in what you believe in. If you are concerned that a certain segment of the population or an issue is going to be neglected or dealt an injustice, volunteer in ways that you feel you are making a difference. Hopefulness is the best antidote for what's happening now in the nation and in the world.