Every day we are inundated with fear based messages. The stories can run the gamut from contaminated lettuce, volcanic eruptions or superbugs to the ever-present and growing contagion of terrorist activities. Stress from the constant assault on our psyche that we are in imminent danger is growing exponentially primarily because we don’t take the time to reflect on the past.
When I give a workshop on stress I often hear how the “world is going to hell in a hand basket”. There is an absurdity to this statement if one takes it literally. How is it possible to put the world and all its problems in a hand basket that simulates hell? I often counter by sharing some historical references that might put things into perspective. When Attila the Hun was raping and pillaging the countryside, the only source that was available to warn surrounding villages and countries was a man on a horse. It would often take days to get through. CNN would have had a field day with this incident. Today, smart phones with cameras are a way of life. As soon as any egregious event occurs it is instantly shared with millions.
As the story is shared it often grows in intensity. It becomes similar to the old game I used to play called, “Telephone”. We sat in a circle and shared a statement by whispering it in a person’s ear who then shared it with the person sitting next to them. After ten people shared the comment the last person said what they heard out loud. The laughter came after hearing how distorted the statement became..
We humans love to put our own spin on things and embellishing stories is something we are good at especially making them worse than they are. Unfortunately the news seems to forget that life is also laden with stories of hope, kindness and compassion. Oh, they give us little nuggets of optimistic news items. But they are few and far between. Let’s not forget that ratings are what they strive for, and reporting that someone in New York helped a disabled individual cross the street is not that big a deal.
What has been forgotten and put aside in the world of news, twitter, Instagram and whatever else has become a conduit for instant news is that small acts of kindness add up and help people feel that “the universe is a friendly place”. When we exhibit kindness towards others it not only improves our immune system but also that of others who may be watching.
Make a conscious effort not to watch news clips all day. Believe me if the world is coming to an end you’ll know it. Until then fill yourself with good news and share it with others. It may help you live longer!