Control Your Exposure to Media

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Bad things happen in life and that is inevitable. What is NOT inevitable is how much you allow myself to be exposed to these bad things.

Everywhere you turn there are news stories about the horrible things happening in the world. The fact of the matter is that negative news sells and while human interest stories are great they aren’t the bread and butter of the media.

Don’t believe me?

Watch the nightly news and count the number of bad and depressing stories that are reported and then count the number of positive and uplifting stories you see.

Do the same thing for the newspaper or any news outlet you find on the Internet. In addition, to there being more of these negative and depressing stories they are also the type of stories that lead the evening news, are on the cover of print media and on the homepage of online media.

Many years ago I discovered that I had to take control of the amount of media I exposed myself too. I am a person who internalizes things I hear and struggle with depressive thoughts too easily. I know that if I expose myself to too much media I will become depressed and believe there is very little good in the world.

The truth is there is more good than bad, but we don’t always get to see it.

What we hear is the murders of innocent school children in Chicago, the bad cops who are falsely arresting and shooting people, and the teenagers who are burglarizing houses.

What we don’t hear is about the principal who walked students home after school to ensure their safety after a gang incident in the neighborhood, or the cop who goes out of his way to change the tire of a stranded motorist and make sure they got safely on their way, or the teenagers who took it upon themselves to start an anti-bullying campaign at their school.

I firmly believe there are far more good stories than bad, but the popular media doesn’t report on them as much. I can’t blame them. They are a business and they have to make money. Unfortunately it’s the sad, depressing news that makes more money.

If you are like me and overexposure to negative, sad news can be too much you HAVE to know how and when to limit your exposure.

Things to consider when deciding whether you need to limit your exposure to media are:

  • Are you a sensitive person who empathizes strongly with others?
  • If you bombard yourself with positive thoughts, images and people, you will be positive. If you bombard yourself with negative, you will be negative and/or depressed
  • What is the purpose of the news? Do you get anything from it? Is there anything you can do about it?
  • You have a finite amount of time each day, how much of that do you want to spend on media?
Specifically during a crisis, it is very important to monitor ours and our children’s exposure to coverage.

When 9/11 happened there was no shortage of media coverage, and while it was important to be informed it was equally important to limit the amount of coverage we watched.

You may not even realize what overexposure to media is doing to you until you step away. If you have children, it is even more important that you be cautious with what they see and are exposed to.

How to limit your exposure to media:

  • Decide how you will get your news (paper, online, social media, etc.) stick to just that
  • Limit how much time you will spend viewing media
  • Recognize your signs of overexposure
    • Depressive thoughts
    • Inability to turn it off
    • Thoughts are overcome with a topic. It’s all you think or talk about
    • Negative behavior
    • Inability to find positive in most things

In this uncontrollable world this is one way we can have some control. You CAN control your outlook on life. You may be challenged in this, but ultimately it is your choice. Make good choices in what you expose yourself to and then it is easier to have a positive outlook.

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