Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No News Is Good News - Your Mental Health Is Too Important to Read Bad News

Yahoo’s featured articles this morning when I got online the other day were:
1. Israel Air Strike – Over 200 Dead
2. Hawaii’s Oahu Island Has Massive Blackout
3. 9th Body Found in Shooting

Wow, and I can only imagine what the TV news was like. There was a fourth article about killing, but I can’t find it again. So that’s three articles about killing, and one only about a major inconvenience…

I don’t read any of these articles, of course. My mental health is too important to spend it on reading bad news. I’ll hear enough with headlines and in casual conversation over the day. But I write, and I invest, and I take care of my four-year-old. Why would I want to fill my mind with negative press? I’ve often read in the paper calls for more positive news, but that isn’t going to happen as long as we keep buying, and supporting their doom and gloom.

So I do something about it: no more reading articles online, no more watching the news on TV, no more buying newspapers – until they start writing things I want to read. Frankly, I don’t expect it to happen, so I’m just going to avoid the majority of the news for the foreseeable future.

Trust me, there’s still enough out there. I’ll still be getting most of the news. At least the big national and international, and the newsworthy local content. But I’m not going to fixate on the negative, spend much time on it, or look at it in a way that shows the media that they can make money off of it. Since the majority of their income comes from advertising, and that comes from subscription/hits/ratings, I will stay off their radar. I won’t buy a paper, click through a link, or turn on the news. One less reader, one less person their advertisers will reach…

Given the recent economic news, this is doubly true. Successful investors must be ‘cautiously optimistic’. If I’m not optimistic, why would I invest at all? There must be a positive future out there to be saving for. But overly optimistic leads to overly risky, so a certain level of caution must be kept – no irrational exuberance here! And news, with its drama and sensationalism, is anathema to cautious optimism.

My mental health is too important to read bad news. Instead of expecting the media to be concerned with my intake, I take it upon myself to monitor content. If you feel the same way, take responsibility to manage the amount of negative news you get. You can:
1. Get rid of your TV, or at least don’t watch news.
2. Don’t subscribe to any newspaper that doesn’t feed you the diet of news you want.
3. Get the headlines, but don’t click through links that aren’t for the type of content that stimulates you.

1 comment:

  1. The problem is that some people think it is an imperative to "watch the news" and read newspapers. You must read and watch all news!
    News is a religion.
    Many people have CNN, Headline News, or Fox News on in their homes every waking hour. Most people cannot take the pushback and the peer pressure involved in avoiding the news.