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.
(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:
- Limit your news intake to just one time per day. Really, that's enough to keep up with what's happening.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!