Turn On, No Shut Off, The News

by Tom Kelly, M.S.

No matter your political allegiances, there is no denying that these are contentious times in contemporary politics. As a result, it seems that all sources of news have become filled with arguments, complaints, and even attacks. In addition, what is considered a source of news has greatly changed, as information has begun to spill over into social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. There is no escaping the hotly contested debates!

The question of who is right and who is wrong within the news cycle is one question. But another question I have been considering is: How much of this do I want to consume? Reading or watching the ongoing debates can really affect my mood, as I become likely to harp on points that I find to be wrong. I notice myself becoming angry and annoyed when reading or watching an opinion I disagree with, all while I am sitting on my couch!

I believe that consuming the news is an important and worthy task. Keeping up to date with political decisions is important to me, and I do not want to cut this out entirely. I think many others would agree with this, and value their knowledge of current events. So deciding on how much to consume is a difficult task. If I do not cut it all out, what would be a happy medium?

The answer I have come up with thus far is, it depends! If I want to watch the news, and if it is going to be an inescapable aspect of social media, then I also need to regulate my own emotional experience. And if points of disagreement are a known aspect of the news, then harping on their presence is just not helpful. I am going to operate on the premise that different and opposing viewpoints are expected, and that maybe on occasion, it will be better to shut off the news.

Thomas Kelly, M.S.

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