February. It's the New April.
Wearing My Word

Keeping Up With the News

A while ago, I started listening to Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast (you can find it here; it's a good one).  Each week, she and her sister, Elizabeth, talk about  being . . . happier.

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(This photo has nothing to do with the podcast or with news . . . but I was out in the garden on Saturday when I found these Japanese anemone seed heads, and I thought they were cool.  And . . . being in the garden again definitely made me happier!)


In the podcast 104 (from February 15), Gretchen and Elizabeth talked about dealing with the emotional toll of the news -- which they call a stumbling block to happiness, or something that takes up a lot of real estate in your brain and limits your ability to "find the good" around you.

They gave the following helpful suggestions for dealing with the news:

  1. Limit your news intake to just one time per day.  Really, that's enough to keep up with what's happening.  
  2. Just read (or watch or listen to) ONE story on a given topic.  Then stop.  You've got the details; you know what's happening.  Taking the same story in from multiple sources just ramps up the drama in your head.
  3. Consider reading the news instead of listening or watching.  Written articles are more "information-dense" than news items produced for radio and tv -- which tend to be far more emotion-driven (and, ultimately, emotionally upsetting).  
  4. Take action.  Take your feelings and make something happen instead.  (Even if it's just baking banana bread.)  Doing something active provides you with distance . . . from the emotional toll of the news.

They also discussed the conundrum some people feel right now . . . should we even be striving to be happy, given the current state of affairs?  Their answer?  An unapologetic YES!  Because happier people are more resilient people -- and better able to manage tough situations with an active response.  Happy people are hopeful people.

My take-aways from the podcast?  Stay informed -- but keep your emotional distance!


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Excellent advice. I have a friend who is so deep in the hole right now I'm actually worried! I hope she reads your blog...I'd forward it but I've already recommended the Huffington article you linked before and was met with NO!


Excellent advice - my escape has been audiobooks! A little brain vacation happens when I am engrossed in a compelling story!


Love the list! I've taken Bridget's and your suggestion for no news after 8 pm and it's working well. I think the one time/one story ideas will be helpful additions - thanks!


Also, those are very cool seed heads!


Such great advice, I've definitely been trying for this approach myself.


The seed heads are so interesting! Nature is a great foil to the news of the day. I have been limiting my intake and time on-line. There are so many other things to do on a daily basis and finding quiet and happiness are at the top of my list!


The news can become quite crazy making. And the suggestions are definitely worth trying. The garden sounds like the perfect respite!


Excellent advice -- especially about ONE story on any given topic.
Happily, I've found the grandkids to be a perfect antidote to the news.


I listen to Gretchen almost every week...have been since she began. I think she and Elizabeth give out the best advice and things to think about/try.
The seed heads are fascinating!



Thank you for the synopsis, since I'm playing catchup (again) on podcasts. That is great advice. We've adopted the "read" approach in this house. It feels weird to not watch or listen, but it's certainly better for our outlooks.

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