Take a News Fast

I don’t often have the television on during the day. I love the peace and quiet and the intermittent sounds of nature wafting through the open windows. Some friends of mine have the news on all the time. They’re afraid they might miss out on something of importance. I figure if it’s that important, like a meteorite striking the earth, or an alien invasion, someone will call, or text me. If not then , so what ? I’ll end up becoming part of a rock formation that someone in the future will find. If there is a future!
Let’s face it, the world is filled with murder and mayhem, but it has always been. Social media has made it possible to get the news as it’s happening. In fact anyone with a smart-phone can take a picture and send it to a TV station. Everyone has become a newscaster. We can be aware of a restaurant in Bejing being held up if we so choose. The question is does knowing all this information serve us? It probably does if you’re working for the CIA or the FBI. Otherwise I think that “less is more”!
What a lot of individuals are not aware of is that a constant bombardment of negative information begins to erode our ability to handle stress. It also gives us the feeling that the world is a dangerous place and there are many more villains than decent folks. Our minds and bodies react to a situation whether we are personally involved or we are simply the witness.
Their are millions of individuals who suffer from insomnia. Could part of the reason be that they may be watching a newscast riddled with negative news or a movie filled with violence. Neither of those choices allows the mind/body to get into the quiet space it needs to relax and fall asleep. The message it’s getting is “ Let’s prepare for disaster”! So your system gets prepared to “fight or flee”. It’s very hard to get to sleep when your body stiffens up as if you were embarking on rigamortis. If you’re a real news junkie, you’re probably in this state all day long.
Some time ago Dr. Andrew Weil recommended that people take a “news fast”. I think that’s a great idea. Try it for one day if you really think you’re going to have a problem. If you can get past the first day, try a few more. Believe me, when I tell you that you will feel more relaxed without the assault of negative information. Try listening to some beautiful music, read a book, or perhaps you can sit and do nothing even if it’s for a little while. I am becoming more entranced with the art of doing nothing. In fact I believe that doing nothing will help you to do a lot of “something”.

Disconnect to Connect

My ex-husband would always berate me when I spoke to a stranger. He would wait , thank God, until the person was out of earshot, and then the lecture would begin. “Why do you talk to people you don’t know?” “How do you know they aren’t annoyed by you invading their space?”
Well, first and foremost, I am a people person. I love to meet new individuals and discover what they do and where their from. I truly, cannot think of one incident where someone treated me with anything but delight that I had engaged them. My retort to my ex was always the same. “They might have been strangers before, but they’re not anymore.”
He was never amused by my response, but thats part of the reason we’re not together anymore. His life revolved around safety and not making waves. Talking to people he didn’t know could be embarrassing. What if they ignored him or acted uninterested? I on the other hand came from a family of smoozers.
I was born into an Italian family from Brooklyn. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and if they didn’t they soon would. Wherever I went with a member of my family you could be sure that they would engage someone they never met and eventually bring them into the fold. Not all of them became a permanent part of the clan. But many of them did and it helped create the fabric of my life. My books have reflected the many characters I met and their stories have been woven into my work as a stress management consultant.
Over the years I have noticed that as a culture we have become more and more distanced from one another. I know that technology has something to do with it, but the wedge that has been driven between us has also been driven by the constant fear messages the media fills us with. What if I talk to someone who might stab me if they don’t like the way I look. Or, what if I inadvertently touch someone that is riddled with the latest plague? And after all, doesn’t everyone want to simply get where their going? They don’t want to take any time to simply have a pleasant chat with a stranger?
How sad, not to realize that the world is made up of many fascinating people that could enrich our lives if we simply said “hello”. Just smiling at someone helps create a connection. Unfortunately we are getting so used to looking down at a gadget in the hopes that someone is trying to reach us, that we have forgotten how to reach out to those around us. Remember when you’re looking up you see the world, when you look down all you see is the ground.