Breaking news is broken.
The way we are consuming news is broken.
As a result, we are breaking.
At least I am. I do pretty well, skimming the headlines, hearing news from friends and staying mildly informed for a few days, and then something grabs me. I read it all, take it all in and then feel more confused and distraught than before. Nothing changed except that I immersed myself in other people’s speculation and opinions.
We let our thoughts and feelings get all jumbled up by other people’s thoughts and feelings. Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Why we should break up with breaking news
- While it’s breaking, news can be highly speculative. If you are looking to the news for information, this isn’t the time. Giving it time to settle will help to avoid some unnecessary highs and lows.
- If you are minding their business, who’s minding yours? Author and spiritual teacher, Byron Katie says there are only three kinds of business in the universe, “mine, your’s and God’s” and that when you are feeling lonely or hurt you are likely in someone else’s business. She says in this article, “Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, ‘You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,’ I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.”
- Consuming breaking news is like getting on the scale. The information is unhelpful because it’s changing minute by minute and yet it affects how we feel, usually in a negative way, which then affects how we move through our day, and treat others. Breaking news equals stress and stress can have a negative impact on mental and physical health and our relationships.
Currently, it feels like all news is breaking news. There is such a fine line between being informed and becoming completely overwhelmed.
If what we want (and need) in our lives is more peace and ease, we need to break up with breaking news.
How to Break Up with Broken News
1. Forget F.O.M.O.
Don’t worry about missing out. So what if you don’t know the latest numbers, theories or potential scientific breakthroughs. And if you worried about missing out on some really good news, don’t. When there is really good news, someone will tell you about it.
2. Set clear boundaries
Write down clear boundaries around news consumption for the next few days or weeks. If you want a daily news update, do it through email from your favorite source so you don’t have to go to Google or go to a website full of more headlines tempting you to click.
Next, choose a time that works best for you. I recommend sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. because then you aren’t beginning or ending your day with the news.
Include a full 24-48 hours a week with no news (or internet) at all if you can. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel.
3. Notice catastrophizing
I didn’t even know this was a word until a therapist called me out for doing it a few years ago.
Even when there is a catastrophe or hard things going on, we can make it worse with our language and the way we talk to our friends and family and in how we allow our minds to carry us away with worst case scenarios.
Breaking news may encourage catastrophizing because often times breaking news is catastrophizing.
Not catastrophizing doesn’t mean pretending hard things aren’t happening but recognizing that it’s the wrong time to add fuel to the fire. Here are 5 ways to stop.
4. Make a pact
Ask friends and family for a news-free call. Agree to spend your next call talking about something else. Another in between option is to shift the conversation so that at least part of your conversation focuses on the day to day stuff. Here are a few good questions to ask,
- “What did you make for dinner?”
- “Did anything happen recently that made you laugh?”
- “What are you grateful for today?”
Here’s what I do on calls with friends.
I know it’s important to be informed.
I know we want to figure out WTH is going on so we don’t have to carry this uncertainty around.
Most of all, I know we want some peace.
Take a break from breaking news, remind yourself of what brings you peace and turn your attention there.