This is a version of an article I read recently which struck a chord with me.
Did you read, listen, or watch the news in the last 24 hours? If so, you probably came across one or more of these headlines:
- Grexit remains the likely outcome of this sorry process
- Carney hints at move in interest rates
- Commodity prices head for 13 year low
- Dollar rise threatens US growth.
Any one of these items could keep you up at night. But they shouldn’t, because you can’t do anything about any of them. These events, and others like them, are completely out of our individual control. However, that won’t stop the 24/7 news channels from trying to convince us otherwise.
That’s why I’m suggesting something sort of radical for your summer holidays of 2015: go on a ‘media fast’.
Specifically, you should ignore the top headlines and the breaking news for the period of your holidays. Instead, read something interesting – something that you really want to read.
If you’re feeling really crazy, go outside. Play with your kids, or grandkids. Go on a walk or spend time with your partner. But whatever you do, avoid anything that’s ‘trending’ for those vital weeks.
For some of you, I know this fast will be really difficult. I, for example, will still look at the football gossip every day. You soak up news like a sponge – you probably can’t imagine going without it for more than an hour or two, never mind a week or two! If you fall into this camp, you should ask yourself one question: does knowing what just happened make me any happier, or does it just increase my stress?
If we’re being honest, I suspect it’s the latter for 90 per cent of the time. We have no control over these events, yet we’re encouraged to devote attention and energy to things that make us feel bad.
Let’s hit the pause button for a short time and see how it feels. How do we feel during a day when we focus on what’s right in front of us, versus what’s happening halfway around the world?
To be clear, I believe there’s a huge different between being well informed about current events and staying glued to news channels. I think we’ve got into the bad habit of confusing one with the other. This media fast will help us do a better job of separating the two and identifying the situations we really care about as opposed to the steady stream of nonsense masquerading as ‘important news’.
I think this summer should be memorable for a lot of reasons, but I’m hoping it’s because of the memories we choose to make, instead of what we happen to read or see on the news.
Now, I’m off on holiday for two weeks, so there won’t be another blog until 11 August. I will practise what I preach, with the exception of the football gossip…..