Over-binging on bad news is the equivalent of ‘junk food’ for the mind.
For the past few months, my preoccupation with good news has been spurred on by working through Fiona Brennan’s excellent online programme ‘The Positive Habit.’ I now have to report that I’ve become even more of a ‘good news’ junkie because the programme has alerted me to the fact that bad news is the equivalent of junk food for the mind: in other words, over-binging on bad news is as bad for our mental health as junk food is for our physical health.
As regular visitors to my blog will know I have, for some time now, been concentrating on spreading good news stories. I first mentioned The Positive Habit in my blog at the beginning of March: Developing positive habits to support our mental health,’ and I re-iterated that message a couple of weeks later in my blog: Is life getting you down?
Fiona Brennan is passionate about helping people, especially during these challenging times, and she has therefore made it free to register for her wonderful course with the option to donate. I thoroughly recommend it.
But considering bad news as junk food for the mind really does provide a different dimension.
Yes, by constantly feeding us stories of gloom and doom, mainstream media is damaging our mental health.
Be warned: just as the odd high-fat treat or glass of brandy is unlikely to do us much harm, so it is that catching up on the news once or twice a day is enough to keep us updated on what’s going on in the world; but over-binging on the news all day long is very likely to make us feel depressed, anxious and pretty miserable.
The Positive Habit puts it beautifully:
Think of a beautiful image as food for the soul – it is healthy, nutritious and gives you energy and vitality, whilst the distressing image is similar to junk food which provides no nutrition and makes you feel sluggish.
We are constantly bombarded with negative images and words through the internet, radio, newspapers and TV. The huge volume of bad news to which we expose ourselves overloads our minds and has a negative effect on how we think, feel and behave.
We do not need to become ostriches and bury our heads in the sand, oblivious to the suffering in the world; but it is essential that we limit the amount of information we absorb every day. Isn’t it enough to listen to the news on radio once? Do we need to keep hearing the same negative messages throughout the day?
It is essential to have an acute awareness of your own limits in terms of how much harmful information you can absorb in order to maintain a healthy mindset.
Extract from The Positive Habit
Another eye-opener from The Positive Habit is that if we are to deal with the problems we face in today’s world it is essential that we develop a Positive Collective Consciousness.
I’ve come to see that it’s not only our own lives that can be transformed by positive thinking but that developing a positive collective consciousness is a top priority if we are to make the necessary changes in the way we live and put pressure on governments to bring about the major structural changes that we need to deal with our number one world problem – global heating.
So instead of concentrating on the bad stuff and filling the atmosphere with words such as ‘awful’, ‘shocking’ and ‘horrendous,’ we can pump positivity into the world by focussing on what is good and using words such as ‘wonderful’, ‘great’ and even ‘fantastic’.
Yes,, I like that!