Last week I heard people complain about the media coverage leading up to the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. I heard that the sheer volume of stories and images were emotionally overwhelming, even numbing for some. Lots of opinions flew back and forth among some friends of mine, some expressed disgust with the media for capitalizing on people's suffering. But isn't that what most of the news is? Different media outlets - television, internet, and even print media - get advertising dollars based on how many viewers or readers they have. And what is the content of much of the news? People suffering: house fires, civil wars, rapes, murders, disease, tragedy, financial stress and the list goes on.
We are bombarded by so much information each day - more information than most people had access to during their entire lives 100 years ago. While it can be interesting, educational and informative to learn about what is going on not only in your hometown, but also across the world, we are generally exposed to too much and the result is stress. Not just a little tension in the shoulders, but chronic stress, worry and anxiety. Millions of people, including children, experience chronic anxiety and depression and the staggering numbers of people on anti-anxiety medications continues to grow each year. Is it any wonder when we are being assaulted with images of violence and sadness every time we turn on the television, internet or open a newspaper?
While I'm not saying that the media is responsible for ALL of our anxiety and depression, there is no doubt that mass media influences our society and way of life. Here's a great article on just all the ways we are influenced by media.
The good thing about this is that you have a choice. You can choose not to "watch the train wreck." What I'm suggesting is going on a "media diet." If you are tired and frustrated by politics, tragedy and the way the media presents things, then STOP watching or reading. Instead, LIVE YOUR LIFE! Enjoy each moment, play with your children, do your best at work, find your purpose, your spirituality, your friends. Laugh, play and live.
If there are causes that are important to you, then find ways to keep up on those things online from resources you trust, or in your own way. If something big happens in the world, you'll hear about it, don't worry. But stop watching the news every day. Stop reading EVERYTHING in the paper or online. All it does is cause you much stress, and the stress of the world, piled on top of the stress in your life, sets your body up nice and cozy for illness and disease. Instead, honor and celebrate what is important to you, in your own way. Let go of all else. Live, love and BE peace in your life.
I didn't watch any of the television coverage of 9/11. The only thing I read was a short story of two rescue workers who were lost that day. I did, however, choose to meditate on peace and compassion and to send that healing energy to all those who still feel pain from that day in our nation's history. I didn't need the media to help me do that. And you don't either.