For many years I have been thinking of the connection between stress and the headlines in the media. As a person who wants to be stress free, anxiety free and positive, I have written this article for people who feel the same way.
I have done some research and here's what I learned:
The media plays a big role in our stressful life, making us stressful, every single day.
Why is that? There are many explanations, but my concern is that we live in the really stressful western world and do not need media related stress. We want to reduce our stress, not to increase it.
For many of the media, the only a good news is bad news. Have you ever seen on TV any "good breaking news "? If it is good news, it is not "breaking news".
When you feel fearful and anxious watching all these catastrophes, you will want to learn more of the details. This is all about control! The media needs our attention, making us desperately stressed-out and depressed. The media bosses are always looking for "a critical mass of catastrophes "to keep us occupied.
Have a look at the lead story headlines. What you see or hear is only disasters, only bad news and frustrations.
Why are at least 60% of all headlines about catastrophes? The answer is very simple, people like to read about tragedies! I am surprised! I have asked myself, why do people want to see or hear about bad news? Why do they want to know about someone they don't know? Do they believe they are helping the people who are in trouble?
I don't know the answer to all these questions and I am not blaming people. They are used to doing that! People's desire to learn about disasters is part of human nature. I was surprised when I have learned, that human beings use their biological systems to save themselves! Experts say: When you pay attention to other people's adversity, you will keep the same thing from happening to you! Our interest in disasters is a matter of self- preservation.
Very interesting! My question is: Why does the media misuse the power of our natural biological system? The problem with watching bad news is that when we look at people suffering, our bodies react in the same way. When we see a person in pain, it will activate the pain-sensitive regions of our own brain. Human brains are equipped with "mirror neurons" to help us mimic the people around us. It's part of our genetic heritage. The media understands the meaning of control, and how to use it to control us.
In our body we have so called "control buttons" .These "buttons" will help us, keeping our stress under control. But, if we have no control, or if we have little control, the stress will get to us. By watching all these adversities we have no control at all. Because we have no control, we experience fear, stress and anxiety!
That is the reality of human nature.
The media understands human physiology. Their motto is: "If you like to see disasters, we will provide you with disasters."
The media doesn't care about people's stress. They care only about profit. Profit from us, imperfect human beings.
Instead of spending your time watching disasters, spend your time searching for more productive, positive stories.
We need to teach people that life is about happiness, too, not just about disasters. We need to teach people how to make life more joyful, more useful, not more stressful.
I am not an utopist or an idealist. I realize life is unpredictable, imperfect, and full of uncertainty. Life is not always fair, and has no obligation to be fair. But, we don't need the media to remind us, constantly, day in and day out.
Now, I have a question for you: What kind of life do you expect from people that watch only "bad news," nothing but images of people suffering? Do you expect them to be positive, happy and satisfied?
What you can expect is people with stress, anxiety and confused emotions!
My point is: Please, stop watching stressful and fearful news! Get a life! You don't need to know all the "bad news" from all over the world. You have enough "news" to deal with in your own life. You will not improve the quality of your life watching late-night news. If you want to reduce stress in your life, try to avoid all the sensationalized stories of violence in the media.
Learn to ignore what you can not control.
Instead of watching bad news try to learn more about things you can control. Give yourself a sense of control and you will be less stressful, happier, more satisfied, and more productive.
I wish you a life with no media related stress. Good luck!