Lately, I have had the news on during some of my work time. I like the background noise. But lately, I have been absorbing some of the junk that the reporters are dishing and I am finding it hard to take.
What I am challenged with is straddling the line between being a) a healthy, productive, uninformed human and b) knowing what is going on but having the worst kind of negative monkey brain ever. Yesterday, my dad had to talk me off the ledge (OK, there was no ledge but everything going on had my brain focused on the negative stuff and it started to come out of my mouth). I felt it coming on and it was like having someone sit on your chest. I don't like it. Perspective almost seems impossible. On the news, it was all bad, bad, bad.
I can go for a good long time without looking at my 401(k). I know that there's no reason to panic and that I don't need to retire any time soon and that riding it out is the best thing to do. I also know that I can tell myself all that, but if I look at the number, my mind will grab it and have it's way with it. It will play the "what if" game. And that just sucks. I'm too much of a obsessive planner. I like to be proactive and fix things. There's no fixing I can do right now.
But when it comes to the news, you kind of need to know what's going on. I want to hear anything about the change in the presidency/political landscape (a la Blagojevich stepping down. Please?). I want to know when we are coming out of the recession. I want the good news. And I want to know if there's anything I need to *do*. A weather report every now and then would be nice too. I just don't want to hear all the doom and gloom stuff. In the words of the most annoying member of the Tanner "family": cut.it.out.
As part of my job, I have to monitor what is going on at other companies: who is closing their doors, who is laying off, etcetera (which is not that hard of a word to spell out, people). I'm accustomed to that (even though it's hard to think about the impact on people). But I just don't want to take another moment of the rest of the "news". I think we are all making it worse,on ourselves by tuning in. And because we are tuning in, the networks don't feel like they have to try too hard to bring us anything other than all this negative stuff (OK, that may be a little harsh, but how about taking into account our collective ability to tolerate all of it?).
I'm trying to come up with a plan to get what I need to stay informed but not torture myself with the negativity I don't need. Here's what I am thinking: no more TV during the day. Goodbye Today Show. Hello, music. One half hour of national TV News a night. And I can look the weather report up online if I need it. I'm sure there's some hole in my plan. But I think we all should be more thoughtful about how we are letting the news impact us on a personal level. And there's nothing wrong with me. There's something wrong with the people that can hear all this news and *not* let it affect their psyche.
Oh, and by the way, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart totally does not count as news in my scenario. And anything holiday related totally does 🙂