Have you ever been in a conversation with someone that is an absolute downer?
Most of us have likely been there and if not then you might be the culprit…
It might come about when you’re spending time with an in-law. Maybe it comes around when you’re hanging out with your grandpa or maybe your retired father.
It definitely seems to occur more with people that are older. I guess age might make you a little cynical. It doesn’t have to, but it definitely seems like a trap.
One of the reasons that some people may be downers (one reason, not the reason) is that they watch the news.
It’s no secret anymore that the news is very negative. Turn on the local news and you might want to just crawl up under the bed and never go outside again. There’s always a new disease, threat of violence and something crazy going on out there in the world.
We have so much access to information today and it’s great, but if you’re not careful the information you take in, and especially the news, can lead to negative outcomes.
Remember, you are what you do every day, and you probably don’t want to be the embodiment of negative news.
Here are some key reasons to avoid the news.
1. It Makes You Unhealthy
It’s kind of crazy to consider, but the news changes your brain function for the worse. News adds stress to your life. It makes you more fearful and even more aggressive. It also makes you less creative and less capable of thinking about the big picture.
We’re unfortunately getting into the US election season. It already seems like it’s been dragging on for years. It actually seems like an endless cycle these days.
Fear and aggression are running rampant in the US today. Bring up politics with your family and friends and at least one person is going to go overboard.
Who wants that in their life?
Will things really change that much if one person is elected versus another?
And even if it did wouldn’t you just be better off focusing on what you can control?
Following the news adds stress to your life and stress is one of the biggest negative health factors for humans.
2. It Puts Too Much Emphasis On The Immediate
So much of the world is about the long-term future. The news, however, brings our focus into the immediate. Yes, it is important to be able to make decisions quickly and in the short-term.
When you’re driving and a deer runs in front of the car, for example, it’s good to react appropriately. Actually I’ve heard the best thing to do in that situation is to keep driving instead of swerving.
Anyway, we’re in a period of time when we do much of our thinking about the short-term. We look for short-term satisfaction. We want things to happen now.
But the old saying is true: We overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in ten.
It’s good to take a long-term view in life and in business. But the more you watch the news the more likely you are to focus on the short-term.
3. It Takes Up Your Attention
Entrepreneurs often talk about how precious their time is. And that’s true. As an entrepreneur you know that what you spend your time doing needs to lead to results for the business. You owe it to yourself and to your employees.
Odds are good that paying attention to all the latest news is not worth your time. You may want to keep abreast of what’s going on in your industry, but outside of that you might be better of thinking about other things like solving problems, taking on opportunities and more.
It’s good to have a finger on the pulse of things, but rarely is there something so immediate that it needs your attention. You can usually catch up by getting a summary of the most important news.
4. It’s Addictive
I think this is true. I find myself doing it with Twitter. I catch myself opening that app all the time to see what has happened in the last hour. I’ve had to limit myself to following only about 15 accounts on Twitter.
It’s true on other social sites too. The feed on Facebook I think was originally called the news feed. You got all the news about your friends and family there and still do today. It’s addictive to want to check that out every few hours or even every few minutes.
And what does that add to life?
5. It Makes Others Avoid Your Company
Finally, we’re going to get back to that opening of this post where you’re talking with the downer person. Nobody wants to be around someone that is talking about all the bad things happening in the world. Who wants to be brought down from a good mood?
When you think of people that you enjoy being around aren’t they usually an optimistic person? Don’t they ask questions about the good things happening in your life? Don’t they steer conversation toward positives about the world?
Sure, it’s important to have balanced conversations. You’re going to have times when it’s good to discuss uncomfortable things or bad news, but I think we’ve skewed it a little toward the negative with the more access we have to news these days.
You make yourself someone that others want to be around when you bring more to the table than the latest bad news in the world.
How often do you watch the news or how often do you check the news? I have to say that I’m guilty of it to a point. I try to cut back on the bad news that I take in because I’ve seen the negative results. You can notice a change in your attitude. It can be okay from time to time, but it’s much more beneficial to cut the news out of your life.