In a study by the School of Cognitive & Computing Science, University of Sussex, a group was shown 14-min TV clips showing clips of negative clips from the news.
The researchers wanted to see how watching disturbing news would affect the viewers’ mood.
Guess what they found?
Participants felt more anxious and sad and were more likely to catastrophize a personal worry not specifically relevant to the content of the programme.
I know how stressed out you are probably feeling right now about the dangers related to the coronavirus, the isolation from friends and family and the uncertainty related to the global economy.
This is why we want to reduce doing things that will make us feel even more anxious, sad or worried- like watching the news.
I realize that with everything closed and most of us confined to our homes, this is easier said than done- it is very tempting to be glued to the TV or spend hours browsing our phones for the latest updates on the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, we have a choice:
We can spend hours listening to the news and browsing social media, feel moody and nervous, sleep poorly and later regret how much time we are wasting.
Or we can restrict ourselves to watching the news and spend the rest of our free time doing more productive things, like reading a good book.
Generally, I recommend you designate a 15-minute slot every day, in which you can watch the news and get social media updates to stay informed- ideally not too close to your bedtime.
This brings me to our first challenge, for tomorrow- Thursday:
For one full day, turn off your TV and disengage completely from social media and any news outlets.
The idea is to create a digital detox and train ourselves to notice the urge to refresh our computer or take out your phone every few minutes.
I can already tell you that this will be difficult- your mind will try to play tricks on you, and tell you that you are missing valuable information.
But the truth is that if something newsworthy happens, you will probably be flooded with text messages and phone calls.
In addition, you will feel good about yourself once you realize that you can survive without constantly checking your phone or your TV.
Instead of watching the news, invest one hour and read an inspiring book that will lift up your mood.
To be prepared, I’d love you to pick a book today and schedule a time for your reading session.
If you are not sure what to read, let me share some great books I have been read lately:
- Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change, by Shawn Achor (personal development)
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport (personal development)
- Old School Grit: Times May Change, But the Rules for Success Never Do, by Darrin Donnelly (personal development)
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger (marketing)
- Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers, by Giff Constable (business)
- Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi, Erik Davies (biography)
- The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired, by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson (parenting)
Day 1: Your 24 Hour News Diet!
Below are the specific steps, so you will set yourself up for success, for tomorrow’s challenge:
- Switch off news notifications on your phone, ipad and computer tonight before you go to sleep, so you can enjoy a full day tomorrow without watching any news.
- Ideally, also hide your TV remote tonight and put sticky notes close to any technology, reminding you that you do not want to watch any news.
- Take a moment and choose a book today that you would enjoy reading.
- Schedule right now a block of time for tomorrow for your reading session. The best time would be in the morning hours when you feel fresh and receptacle to take in inspiring information.
- Whenever you feel an urge to check out the news on your phone or on the TV tomorrow, pick up your book, and spend a few minutes reading.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Good luck and speak soon,
Your friend, Allon
Ps I’d love to know what book you are planning to read, so if you feel like sharing this, let me know below the comment section!
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