Reading the news is like eating junk food every day, and you are paying a price for it.

I’m a news junkie, but I am also easily stressed – a bad mix! So recently I experimented with not reading the news for a while.

I am talking about the daily news in the media here. What have I gained from reading them? How has it affected me?

I have not read a single piece of information that was useful to me. “Useful” means that I can take reasonable (non-paranoid) action on it. However, I learned that many people are being killed in an armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, there might be a war with Russia, unemployment has risen, Islamists are committing genocide in the Middle East, climate change may be irreversible and world leaders don’t seem to care, and many more awful things I can’t remember anymore.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THIS INFORMATION? It makes me feel utterly stressed and helpless. Consumed for a longer period of time, won’t it instill a worldview of being powerless to do anything that changes the world for the better? This is the brainwashing most people in the West undergo, so that “public opinion” is dominated by the belief that we are helpless and that those in power will hopefully (but probably not) do something about whatever is wrong.

Now I don’t know how to end a war or stop climate change, but think about it: If you compare the information you consume with the food you eat, then reading the daily news is like eating junk food every day, all year long. It is bound to have an effect on your mind and emotions – and wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what happens (and what you are able to do!) when you replace this junk information with information of higher quality?

I have decreased my news consumption over the last month and in part replaced my habit with reading weekly and monthly newspapers and good books, and listening to the news on the radio. I find weekly/monthly newspapers to be more in-depth sources of information because they also see longer term developments and actually put thought into what they write. I still want to know what happens, in case some of it directly affects me, so I listen to the radio.

I have experienced more enjoyment and learned more from reading a few great books over the last few weeks than from consuming and believing in the constructed reality called daily news. There is NOTHING I learned from reading the news that I needed to know to survive or live a better life. Maybe there ARE enough hours in the day to enjoy and improve my life if I don’t waste them doing things that have no purpose and benefit! I’ll continue my experiment and see what happens.

What about you? Have you lived without any news from “the world” for a while (maybe on a camping trip or some other break from daily life)? How has it affected you? Do you have any tricks you can share with us on how to kick the media habit completely?

{May I recommend a book? :) A must-read is Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “The Black Swan: The Impact on the Highly Improbable” on how the uncertain and unknown plays an important role in our lives and world history, while we pretend it’s not there.}

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