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!