Seriously, when was the last time you saw something positive on the news?
I spent the first three days of this week at the Institute of Financial Planning annual conference almost entirely shut off from the outside world. I was able to enjoy the whole time listening to some excellent speakers and sharing ideas with some great financial planners. There wasn’t time to watch any news even if I had wanted to.
One of the keynote speakers talked about how damaging the news is to our well-being. You know my views on following the financial news but it goes a lot further. The speaker explained he has been on a “media fast” since 1987 and “the world still seems to be there”. If there is anything you need to know it will find you without the need to endure the stress of a constant onslaught of despair served up by the media. I was glad to hear this, as I happen to agree and have actually been on a media fast myself since reading an article by Rolf Dobelli earlier this year.
I now no longer read any newspaper, including the trade press or watch TV. If I have the radio on in the car I turn it off for 5 minutes when the news comes on because, let’s face it, the garbage that is served up as news is little more than a morbid form of “entertainment”. What a difference it has made; I now spend several hours a night that were previously spent slumped in front of the TV playing guitar which I haven’t done properly for over a decade! I sleep a lot less and have much more energy because the TV isn’t sucking all the life out me.
While I would encourage you to just go cold turkey, I appreciate a media fast is a little too far for many of us. Here is media diet to get started which might be easier to live with.
Day: 1 Switch off Bloombeg TV and Sky News. Business news is like the weather report. It changes every day and there’s not much you can do about it. If you really want drama, colour and movement, stick to Downton Abbey.
Day: 2 Avoid Groundhog Day and reprogram the clock radio to start just AFTER the news. Waking up every day to depressing headlines (and let’s be honest they are always depressing headlines) can be more grating than One Direction or last years X-Factor winner (whoever they were!).
Day: 3 Read the newspaper backwards. Start with the sports and weather at the back and skip the finance pages. Small talk will be easier, at least.
Day: 4 Set up some email filters. Do you really need “breaking live news updates” constantly spamming your inbox? Except content from Forty Two – obviously!
Day: 5 Try “anti-social” media. Facebook is great, but it’s like a fire hose. If you want to be social, pick up the phone and ask someone to lunch.
Day: 6 Feeling the pangs of withdrawal? Go to the library and look up some old newspapers. They can give you a sense of perspective.
Go on, i dare you to try it and see what a difference it makes to your quality of life and level of stress. I would really encourage you to take the time to sit back and read the attached article too; it might just change your life.