I generally do not watch the news – maybe one or two newscasts a week but no more. The local news is filled with murder and mayhem, robberies, kidnappings and other reports of negative events and personal disasters. The national news is filled with the same only on a global scale. But I made an exception during the presidential campaign – I listened to talk radio in the car and watched both local and national TV news over a period of a couple of months. I even began to turn the news on in the morning and keep it on all day so I would hear the latest polls and know what the latest attacks, statements and misstatements, and “interesting” reporting was. That was a mistake.
A couple of days after the election was over it all hit me (or I was able to notice). I am generally a very “up” and positive person but I was feeling angry, depressed and helpless to do anything to help anybody. Whoa! What was going on? It didn’t take much examination to realize I had been receiving an overdose of negativity all day long, every day for two months and it had taken its toll. During that time I could not write – nothing would come. It was as if any creativity in me was sucked out or dried up leaving me without any words that would hang together in an article. My productivity was down and I had no motivation to get things done. I felt like I’d been flattened by a steamroller that turned around and hit me again.
There was only one thing to do. I turned the TV off and I put an Andrea Bocelli CD in my car CD player to listen to while I drive. It took about three days for me to begin to recover from, as former V.P. Spiro Agnew called them, “the nattering neigh bobs of negativity.” (I love that phrase).
I don’t have to be uninformed just because I don’t watch TV news or listen to talk radio. I can scan the headlines on the Internet and decide what I want to read and what I want to leave alone. I have a son who keeps up with everything and mentions things I need to know about. But I just don’t allow that constant negative intrusion on my mind and spirit that takes me into a downward spiral and renders me useless.
The results of turning off the TV? I feel peaceful again. I’m sleeping at night. My meditation is not a rehashing of all the negative things I’ve heard and seen throughout the day. My mind is clear once more and I am back to a positive mental attitude. I’m even back in writing mode and my productivity is on the increase.
Whew! That was a close call!
How about you? If it is true that we become what we think about all day long, as the motivational speakers iterate and reiterate, what are you becoming? Motivated, inspired, joyful and peaceful? Or sad, depressed, afraid and overwhelmed? You might want to turn a few dials or flip some switches in order to program you own mental computer with those things that are uplifting, motivating, enlightening, and joyful.
Hmmm. What a concept!