Sometimes it feels as if the only emotions left in the world are anger and fear. We are constantly barraged by a media who fills our minds with stories of grief, heartache, and pain. Night and day we are fed horrific news about rapes, murders, robberies, hate crimes, and financial woes.
News is the first thing we see when our computer boots up in the morning. It is the voice on the radio, the sound from the television set. It is splattered in newsstands across the country. We can’t get away from bad news.
And I think it’s making us sick.
Think how you feel when a family member is ill, how your whole body gets clammy and your stomach turns nauseous. Think how your heart hurts when a friend dies, or how you can barely breathe when you hear about a missing child. Remember the feeling you had when you heard about a burning house and later found it was filled with a family of five? Remember how you felt when you learned one more life had been lost in the war?
Do you wonder what our bodies do when all they hear is bad news? I know what mine does. My stomach turns to knots and I lose my appetite, and when I do eat, I want nothing but comfort foods. Depending on your personality type, bad news, and stress, can do the same thing, or something totally different.
Stress can make you eat more, reach for foods you wouldn’t normally eat, or drink too much. It can make you over-exercise, or become lethargic and not exercise at all. Bad news can make you depressed, cause headaches, muscle pains, and many sleepless nights.
I’m not a medical professional, but I can tell you this – I’ve experienced it all. I’ve been the shoulder for every news story, the one who held everyone’s grief in my heart. I’ve cried over stories of people I didn’t know, and stayed awake all night praying for those I’ve never met. I’ve starved myself, over-eaten, exercised too much, and not at all.
And I got sick.
The reality is, we can never get away from bad news. Our world always has been, and always will be, filled with evil. And I’m not suggesting we remain ignorant of what is happening around us. But the fact is, sometimes, we need a break. Sometimes, we need to step away from the world and lessen the load placed on our bodies, and our minds.
We need to shut it off. For a day. For a weekend. For two hours before bed. And we need to make it a habit.
Change the homepage on the computer screen to a generic search engine. Turn off the television, step away from the newsstand. Listen to only music on the radio.
Now find the good. It’s easier than the media suggests. It’s in the couple who talk to the lonely woman who lives down the street, in the man who holds open a door for a struggling mom, in the smiling bank teller, and the waitress who goes beyond her call of duty. Good news is everywhere, if we just look.
For the sake of your mind, and your health, I challenge you to let go of bad news, if only for a day. I challenge you to make it a habit.