We live in a world where we’re bombarded with news 24/7, and most of it is bad news. It’s everywhere: at airports, in line at the supermarket, even in some doctor’s offices (and don’t even get me started on how insane that is!) It’s becoming increasingly difficult to balance the desire for information with taking care of our mental health. It’s enough to make you wish you where a cat!

Exposing your psyche to this constant battering of negativity causes anxiety, stress and fear, which triggers the body’s natural stress response. Our bodies were not designed to live in a constant state of “fight or flight,” and allowing this much negativity into your life at all times will take its toll on your mental and physical, not to mention spiritual health.

Now more than ever, it’s up to each of us to make conscious choices about how and when we consume our news. I suggest the following:

Decide how you want to receive the news

Do you want to get your news in print, audio or visual format? I get my news from trusted newspapers only. I try to limit visuals to the images that come across my Facebook newsfeed. I find visuals too powerful: once I’ve seen something I can’t unsee it.

Choose how frequently you want to receive the news

Do you really need to have the TV on all day long so you don’t miss anything? There is very little that happens in the world that you need to know about “live.” Limit your news intake to once or twice a day. I get a daily summary email from a trusted newspaper, and decide based on that which stories I would like more information about.

Know how to identify fake news

Fake news is not a new problem, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction. The Annenberg Public Policy Center offers a comprehensive checklist on how to spot fake news.

Know how much news you can tolerate

If you’re a highly sensitive individual, you’re going to want to limit your news intake even more than the average person. Highly sensitive people tend to feel more deeply and are more reactive, and are more prone to anxiety and depression. They are particularly vulnerable to watching hostility or violence. I recently walked into a friend’s house while she had the TV on a news channel. It took me most of the evening, and into the next day, to shake off some of the images I took in even in just the few minutes before she turned the TV off.

Take a news break

Take a 24-hour news break. Trust me, you won’t miss anything – if something really big happens, you’ll find out from your friends or family. Of course, for most of us, this also means taking a social media break. If you’re lucky, your social media feed is simply a collection of cat photos, but if you’re like most of us, that’s not the case.

I struggle with this issue. I want to be informed, but I can’t take the constant barrage of bad news, so in addition to being mindful about my news sources and when I consume news, I turn everything off after dinner. I may watch TV, but only pre-recorded shows or Netflix.

Pet your cats

Of course, the best relief from news overload is spending time with your cats. And don’t you envy them? They couldn’t care less about what’s happening in the world as long as they have a full bowl and warm lap to nap on.

As always, I love to hear from you and welcome your comments. However, please note I will delete all comments that contain any sort of political commentary. The Conscious Cat is a politics-free zone.

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15 Comments on Sunday Purrs: Take a News Break

  1. Great post & I completely agree. When I was in college, I remember attending a lecture by the author, Ray Bradbury. There were two pieces of advice that he gave that I still use & truly believe: “Do what you love,” and “Don’t watch the news until the end of the day.” He explained that watching the news in the morning can affect your attitude & really negatively affect your day. I find it iteresting that that advice was given nearly 30 years ago – but it’s just as true now.

  2. Fantastic advice and I could NOT agree more! I have been making a conscious effort (pun not intended with “conscious” lol), to watch MUCH less news, (I try to ignore much of what I see on Facebook and am spending MUCH less time there), and I have been unplugging and staying OFF of the computer most nights starting at 5pm (many days I have been able to sign off before 5pm) I am LOVING IT!!!

  3. I was at one time sucked into the on line fake news when it first started several years ago. So easy to become addicted to it and brainwashed. Now my feed is full of only happy things.
    Thank you for choosing to write this, Ingrid.

  4. Wonderful post, Ingrid! Thank you. This is the reason I don’t think I’ll be watching the Oscar’s today, because I’m afraid it’s going to become all about politics again. We’ll just have to have a movie night instead.

  5. This such a wise post, I have been avoiding the news for about the past five months, although it’s very difficult, even just looking for weather & sports can be a challenge. I have a great way of “escaping” from the real world, I don’t have facebook but I do have a twitter account for my cats, and I follow other cats or animal accounts, and before I do I always scan thier posts to see what they talk about, as a result I have lots of friends in the virtual world of twitter, who I enjoy sharing our adventures in the eyes and words of our cats, dogs, anipals. There is a lot of warmth and compassion out there in the twitterverse among animals & their humans, when someone or their pet is sick or has died the outpouring of prayers, support, comfort, & concern is amazing, and helps to remind me that the world has a lot of compassionate and caring people in it, despite what we see in the “news”

  6. I on;y listen to the news in the morning and the rest of the day I don’t even have a tv on. I like silence. But when my husband is home, he has it on all the time. And of course it’s hard to avoid the news on Facebook or the talk from other people. what drives me crazy the most is the political talk. I am so tired of it. I even warn my husband when we go someplace not to talk politics. It’s too controversial and not everyone has the same views. Even if talking to someone with the same views, you don’t know about the people around you. I live by the old rule, don’t talk politics or religion.

  7. I agree Ingrid…this is why my Facebook newsfeed IS full of cat stuff…I changed my settings so they are the ” see first” ones…then family..and finally all the other stuff. My hubby loves current affairs and watches all the news shows.. I watch none.. He keeps me updated… I haven’t read a newspaper in years… I work as a Nurse so I see enough ” breaking news” first hand… My cat, cat websites like yours, and all the funny cat pictures all help to “balance me out”

  8. I totally agree with what you’re saying Ingrid. I take long pauses between news breaks and get most of what I consume from a handful of trusted sources. Sometimes that isn’t enough though, so I look for cat memes, celebrity cats, and cat related products.

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