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“Shhhhh!” – Did you ever get that? When you were a child, and the nightly news was on, and you made a racket. “Shhhh! I can’t hear THE NEWS!”

How important was THE NEWS? It was on every day, on the radio, on the TV.

I’ve probably gone the other way, these days. I avoid listening to the news like the plague. So much so that I’m usually 2 days behind on any significant occurrences around the world (I purposely don’t say ‘relevant’, because most of it doesn’t affect me, and/or I can do nothing about). But I’m not convinced being 2 days behind is an issue, either.

How did it affect you?

I remember as a young girl being terrified by some of the news items I heard on the media. Memories of fearing someone breaking into our house and murdering me in my bed are strong. I was terrified at night and slept with the sheets over my head, even in the height of summer, when I could barely breathe! I was scared a World War III would break out (it was the 1970s). A lot of this I attribute to what I heard on the news – because, where else would I have got the information from?

Now, in some corners of the globe, these are real fears and I yearn to live to see the day that children, their mothers, their communities are protected and safe from harm. I daily express gratitude to live in a safe country.

But in country town Australia? It was an unfortunate childhood terror that didn’t really need to be. But, I survived! We all survive! And, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger – right? (Rather, deep down fears live to be dealt with another day – but that’s another story!)

News and Daytime Television

A couple of my closest friends will have heard me rave on about this topic.  So, let me share it with you, as I’d be interested in your opinion also!

Near where I live there is a terrific café. It has had a “troubled past”, opening and closing, then reopening at last count, now open for the 4th time. Such is the challenge of running hospitality businesses. It’s not so much a matter of clientele, I believe (it’s always packed) but more a matter of the marketing mix or ownership having challenges they couldn’t work through. It’s pretty much always been a great café, whoever owned it.

However, much to my dismay, the owners before the current ones installed a huge flat screen TV. The type you’d expect to see in a pub. Now, this is a café decked out in Hamptons meets French meets country Australia style. It was gorgeous. The food was elegant and delicious. The outlook from the verandah was green and lush and lovely. The atmosphere, terrific. Except for the television.

The horror…

I remember the first day I walked in to meet a friend for a coffee, and realised the TV had been installed. Within two seconds, the daytime TV station was reporting on one of the most horrendous events that had occurred in our world in the previous week (I will spare you the memories). Immediately my energy went from one of lightness, joy and anticipation of a lovely morning to spend with my friend, to feeling grief, sadness, despair – and irritation.

Not to be seen as heartless…

I am not at all heartless. When something awful happens, I take a moment to feel for the people involved, I think of their loved ones and send them care and love. I despair, like everyone, as to how to prevent such tragedies happening in the future. In the past, when I was not as enlightened and aware as I have trained and educated myself to be now, I would lament that – “how can I feel happy when others in the world are suffering.” (This, too, is a topic for another day) I feel the bad stuff, like anyone.

However, being exposed to the bad stuff constantly (in hourly news updates, on Facebook, in newspapers, gossiping with people about ‘the latest’) does not change what happened. It does not lessen the suffering for the person or people and it does not stop the event being repeated.

All it does is make me feel sad and bad and disempowered. I suggest it does the same for you, and for everyone who dwells on the negative.

Do what we can

When there is something we can do – sign a petition, make a donation, get on a working committee for change, use our talents and skills to change policies, conduct research or seek our solutions, or merely lend a helping hand in the aftermath – then, we should.

Remain strong

No single person can change the world. But by remaining strong, healthy, calm and mindful, we are in the best position we can be in to have a positive, helpful and healing influence on those around us, and the world we impact.

This involves ‘filtering’ what goes into our thoughts, and our subconscious. And that includes what is in our environment, and it includes what is on the TV and radio.

Not going back

After this occasion, I chose not to go back to that Café, as I (to be honest) am fearful of what would be on the TV ! I work hard to maintain a calm, patient, thoughtful and I think, healthy mindset. Like everyone, I deal with the every day challenges of a family, business, household and life. I have overcome anxiety and anxiety-related issues and overcome an unhealthy relationship with alcohol through managing my mindset and keeping it healthy. I’m not going to subject myself to unnecessary challenges from which I will learn or benefit nothing!

New owners!

News Flash! There are new owners! The café is open again!

Will the TV be there? Will it be gone? When the time is right to go for a coffee, I shall report back…

The takeaway message

Just as our choice of diet of food and drink significantly affects our physical health, our diet of sounds, voices and visual messages significantly affects our mental health. Even if it’s not 100% possible to eliminate toxic people, media sources and atmosphere from our immediate environment, I suggest that by limiting your contact with such influences as extensively as possible, you will feel significantly lighter hearted and less burdened by an overload of distressing messages.

Learn to let the “horribles” go and allow the “hopefuls” in. The world won’t end. You won’t miss anything. And you will probably feel better. Protect yourself, for your sanity and the happiness of your loved ones.