Are you a news junkie? Do you feel like you are going to miss something important if you don’t read a paper every day? Observing how much time you spend each day ingesting negative, upsetting, and just plain scary news is a great mindfulness exercise. Whether it’s the New York Times, or tuning in to a local news station for background noise as you are getting ready for work, there is rarely a cheery story to be found in the headlines. Why is this so? Unfortunately bad news is a bigger media money-maker, and the more sensational and disturbing the story, the better.
Luckily, you are mindful, and you can take back your brain and focus on more positive events happening in the world, and they are happening, you just need to know where to look. Yes, we need to be informed, but there is a point where our need for information becomes another distraction, another habit that takes us out of the here and now.
“Read not the times, read the eternities” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Here’s today’s letting go exercise – Let go of bad news
1. If you have a regular diet of news, either print, audio, or video, notice how it makes you feel to imbibe this media. Do you go into a trance as you are reading? Do certain news stories make you feel superior? Conversely, do you feel anxious after listening to the news? Notice how the news creates cravings for a certain outcome or possession or aversions to your present circumstances.
2. Try a news-free day. Just for one day, break up your news routine. Notice the feelings that come up. Do you feel out of the loop, or like you are missing something? Challenge that feeling by reciting this mantra, “I have everything I need.”
3. Henry David Thoreau said, “Read not the times, read the eternities.” Replace your current news diet with something different. Try reading a passage from an inspirational book to start your day. We are not suggesting that you take up an in-depth bible study. This practice can be as short as five or ten minutes a day. There are many great books and web sources that can provide you with short daily readings. Try one of these sources for more positive messages: yesmagazine.org, or positivelypositive.com.
4. Make a plan to limit the negative messages you get from the media over the next month. Use this newly found time to seek out positive news sources that appeal to you.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!
Do you have a news source that that inspires you? Share it with us at mindful hub.