A recent post from Dear Abby:
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend watches the 24-hour news channels and seems to be obsessed with them. It is hurting our relationship and affecting her happiness. She’s constantly worried about national and international politics, global warming, the economy, health care, crime, etc. She neglects herself and her family. She seems agitated, anxious and depressed by all the news. Is this a disease? How can I help her get off this habit? What should I do? — MISERABLE IN MINNESOTA
DEAR MISERABLE: Your girlfriend appears to have become a news junkie. She’s overstimulated and hooked on the adrenaline rush she gets from channel surfing from one tragedy, outrage and horror to the next. While this may not technically be a disease, it is exhausting and depressing.
When the same thing started happening to me, I fixed it by turning off the news and going “cold turkey.” After a four-day news blackout, I felt like my buoyant self again. Now I ration my exposure. Please share this with your girlfriend because it’s what I’m recommending for her.
Holy Lions and Tigers and Bears . . . !
Oh, my. For those of us that can, try to think back oh, at least a couple of decades – maybe three. The news; it came in the morning rolled up on the driveway, and took 20 minutes of our evenings, minus the weather and sports. And for the most part, that was pretty much it.
Observing the photo above of Frazzled Fritz, it would be easy to attribute his fatigued, stressed out demeanor to any number of things. And at a point, don’t you agree, that there isn’t enough caffeine available to stem the tide?
From the Psych Central website, below are listed the top 20 stressors among American adults:
Death of a family member
Terminal illness (one’s own or a family member)
Physical incapacitation, chronic pain, or chronic illness
Drug or alcohol abuse (self)
Drug or alcohol abuse (family member, partner)
Loss of job or job change
Change of school (primarily for children or teens, but this can effect adults, too)
Primary relationship problems (spouse or parent/child/sibling)
Persistent Relationship Problems, non-primary (difficulties with other family members, conflict and loss of friends, difficulties with coworkers)
Academic problems (poor grades, inability to retain information, problems with teachers, unable to meet deadlines)
Occupational problems (lateness, absences, problems with boss or coworkers)
Victim of abuse
Victim of crime
Criminal actions towards others
Abusive actions towards self or others
Extreme loneliness/lack of community membership or friendships
Severe financial problems
Somebody get me a Valium!
If you take just this list (and you can think of dozens more), doesn’t it stand to reason that there are already enough stressors in our lives than to add the bazillion things we might ingest as we obsess over the local, national, or world news? A compilation of surveys states that on average, American adults watch, read, or listen to more than two hours of news every day! And more on weekends.
We are blitzed by the news of our world. OK, so dog bites man, or man bites dog (which do you think is likely to generate greater coverage?) and we all watch the story unfold before us. We constantly hear that we are living in the world of “A 24-Hour News Cycle.”
At best, it seems that it is a 60-Minute cycle, but I bet you a subscription to Fox News it’s fast-closing-in on a 60-second cycle.
So why report about the news?
Because never in The Human Person Owner’s Manual (aka Holy Bible) have we seen, “Cast your cares upon CNN, and it will sustain you.”
or . . .
“NBC is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”
Instead, we are encouraged in Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Life is work. Isn’t that enough? And when I picture myself with a “yoke” around my neck and look to the side, I don’t want to see Katie Couric (no offense to Katie), but instead, the image of Jesus Christ, sweating alongside me and making the burden tons easier than it would be on my own.
Just think about the junk of this world with which we are filling our minds. Bombings, suicides, school massacres, murder/suicides in families, tsunamis, and the collapse of the American economy.
But wait . . . there’s more!
But don’t let Realtime be the cause of even greater stress. Can you imagine what goes through a child’s mind when they are watching a never-ending video loop following the latest school shooting? And what remains in that mind? The images? The sounds? Like a smartphone app, they stay open in the background of the mind, draining the emotional and security batteries day in, and day out, until fear . . . just . . . reigns.
Our wives and children deserve our time . . . and attention. Not the endless tragedies that infiltrate our lives 24-7 . . . if we let them.
How do you shield your family and loved ones from the barrage of “bad news” that is so readily available to us?
How might you “better” do that? Would you care to share?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy1:7)
Don’t worry! Be Happy!
And, as always . . .