A couple weeks ago I went back home to Maine for a short vacation. After I returned, I felt great. Naturally, much of this was due to the fact that I had been visiting my family, relaxing and seeing the natural beauty of my home state.
When I go home, I generally watch very little TV and I never watch the news. After all, I am on vacation. When I got back, I had gotten out of the habit of watching the news and still felt great. Then I started watching the news again and could feel my anxiety increasing a bit. Of course, I was also going back to teaching, but that generally does not make me feel even a slight dread.Well, dealing with administrators and attending meetings does give me that feeling, but I digress.
As an experiment, I decided to stop watching the news. I did keep on watching the History Channel and kept up on world events via quick checks on the web. Interestingly, I found that I felt significantly less anxiety/dread even though I was still aware of events.
While this is hardly a scientific study/experiment, I did find it interesting that my lack of exposure to cable news made me feel better. Naturally, I do face the concern that by avoiding cable news I will be less well informed, but I suspect that I can keep up with events quite nicely without the help of CNN and Fox TV.
I suspect that the anxiety causing aspect of the cable news is the way it is presented. After all, when people are worried or feel anxious, they will want to (ironically) watch more to find out what is going on. Based on my own observations, it seems evident that the news folks generally try to create feelings of worry by the way they present the news and the way that they try to scare folks into sticking around. In some cases this can be rather obvious and extreme, like the classic “something you don’t know that can kill you…or your kids…or grandma…or your pets” approach.
I must confess to being something of a news addict-I like knowing what is going on and, of course, it gives me that vague feeling of superiority that intellectual folks are supposed to crave. However, I am not fond of those vague feelings of anxiety that the news inspires.
I am curious as to whether other folks feel the same way.