I Gave Up The News, Went On A Total Life Cleanse and Got Happy!
5 Tips to Help You Give Up News and Get Happy Too!
“This is an island surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water,” This is what Donald Trump said in the aftermath of hurricane Maria.
I read that quote in my newsfeed on Facebook. I commented on the post, asking if it was a joke as, I explained, I was on a news diet.
I’m not a perfect news-dieter. Sometimes, at night, when the house is quiet, I’ll tip-toe into the living room, grab my cell phone and scan Facebook for juicy news tidbits. It usually happens after watching the latest episode of American Horror Story. This season’s AHS, Cult is my gateway drug. You could compare it to a life long dieter walking by a Cinnabon. I haven’t been hallucinating clowns, (not yet), but the news is not good for me.
A man tagged me in his response to my post. “Seriously?” he wrote. “Apathy is the reason this country is so screwed up. Shameful. Sorry but that comment makes me mad.”
I’m not apathetic. I marched, sent too many postcards to count, and made call after call to my elected officials. In fact, I was obsessed!
Still, I understand this man’s anger.
During the months leading up to the election and those that followed I was binging on the news. Every day I visited news websites. I added Trump, Spicer and Conway to the Google alerts on my phone. The television was always tuned to Cooper-Matthews-Tapper-Maddow. Sometimes I’d pop over to Fox so I could see the other side. Gone were my tranquil Sunday mornings. My new habit was the front page, Face The Nation and agigita.
All this news took a toll. I wasn’t sleeping well. I woke up groggy and cranky. I was hyper and on edge. I got huffy waiting in line at the market or looking for a parking space. Much like the man that responded to my post, I found myself wanting to ‘set people straight’ on Facebook and Twitter.
And all those symptoms were masking my main symptom: fear. I was afraid. Afraid the market might crash and my business would suffer. Afraid we’d lose our home, our healthcare, my rights. Afraid for women, children, education, our planet, for people who aren’t white. I was afraid to get sick or plan a trip outside of the US. I was afraid the we would start a nuclear war.
I was hyper-informed. The more news I consumed the more unhappy and helpless and out of control I felt. This is no way to live a life! It was time to make some major changes. That’s when I decided to go on a total life cleanse.
If you have any of the symptoms I mentioned, the talking heads on the news might have you on their hook, while they make their advertisers fat and happy. You might want to shed those extra pounds of stress and anxiety like I did. Might I suggest a life cleanse?
Don’t worry, if something important happens, you’ll hear about it. You can still make a difference, call your senators, donate to causes and march at rallies if you choose. I’m merely suggesting that you take good care of yourself and step off the rollercoaster that is our 24 hour news cycle. It’s not as hard as you might think. In fact it’s quite fun and you’ll be feeling lighter sooner than you know it! It’s much easier than say giving up chocolate or french fries, I promise.
Here are five ways you can get started letting go of that extra worry right now!
- Journaling. Okay, so I have been journaling since I was a kid. Although back then my journal was called a diary. I have several different journals and one is dedicated to the dump. When you find yourself feeling afraid or upset, this exercise will help you clear your head. You’ll need a timer, some paper and a pen. Set the timer for five minutes and write without lifting your pen from the page. Don’t think about what to write, just write and don’t stop until the timer goes off. You should feel better and more present after you’ve done this.
- Get out of the house and into nature. Whether it’s the mountains, a field of flowers or your local park, getting out into nature restores mental energy and can decrease heart rate and cortisol levels. For me it’s the beach. It may seem corny, but I can feel the magic of the Universe when I look out into the vastness that is the Pacific Ocean and I’m reminded that I’m not alone.
- Get some Headspace. According to an article on Vox, the app Headspace is thriving in the Trump era. And, it makes sense. No matter who you voted for, these are stressful and uncertain times. Tensions are high. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress. Meditation feels good and it keeps us in the present moment, mindful and aware.
- Color. Psychiatrist Carl Jung actually prescribed coloring to his patients to calm and center their minds. For me its like meditating. I curl up on the sofa with my coloring book and favorite watercolor markers and before I know it, I’m relaxed, calm and happy. Coloring is fun!
- Dance it out. You read that right, dance it out. If I find that I’m in a mood and I want to feel good, be happy and literally raise my vibration, I’ll turn on my favorite music and dance around the house. It’s instantaneous. The music plays, I start to move, I sing and as Lord Byron said, “On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined.”
And remember, no one’s perfect. Sometimes I reach for a news-brownie. (Evidenced by what got me started with this article in the first place.) If you find yourself drifting back to that old news habit, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, set some limits: refrain from watching the news while you eat or right before bed. You never know, you just might wind up having scary clown hallucinations, like Sarah Paulson’s character on AHS: Cult.