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How to Be Happier by Consuming Less News

How to Be Happier by Consuming Less News

There are certain things in our lives that bring happiness or sow seeds of discontent. The news can be the bearer of many such seeds. As a result, you can be happier when you consume less news.

When you start the day by listening to the news and you hear about a robbery you begin to worry more for your safety and focus your attention on the bad things that might happen to you, increasing your stress level. What you focus your attention on comes into your life more often. The more attention you give to negative stories, the more negative things you will see around you and the more negative your life will become.

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Some people love to watch the news. These folks may find the news doesn’t affect them strongly. Others easily pick up the negative vibrations whether they realize it or not. Growing up my father loved to have the news on all the time. He thrives on lively discussions and arguments. I would always spend my time elsewhere. Over the years I have found myself listening less and less to any type of news or talk show. My husband enjoys listening to NPR but has come to understand how the news can deeply affect me and will turn it off when I enter the room.

You may not need to cut all news from your life but I challenge you to cut news out of your life for 1 week.

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Can you still be aware and educated about current events without listening to the news? Certainly, just choose your sources carefully and avoid sensationalized news that preys on your emotions. You may find that doing a quick check of headlines is all you need to do to keep aware of important events.

During a recent election season my news fast has allowed me to avoid the majority of negative political campaigns and drama that accompanies an election these days. However I was still able to participate in the vote as an informed citizen by choosing how I educate myself on the issues and not be swayed by the propaganda of either side.

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Start your 7 day news fast by evaluating where your news is coming from and disconnecting:

  • TV
  • Newspaper
  • Radio
  • Online News
  • Social Media: (You need to stop any news that is sent to you automatically, such as daily headlines sent to your email or that show up automatically in your Twitter or Facebook feeds.)
What should you do in place of the news? You could listen to your favorite music or an audiobook while you run errands or commute. Better still, write down how the absence of news affects you. Do you miss it and feel disconnected? Or do you feel less stress and distraction from those you love? You may find you can connect more deeply with your family, without the nightly news to distract you.

After your 7 day news fast try replacing regular news with positive information. There are news sources that focus on reporting positive stories.

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Looking for your next challenge? Try a digital fast.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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