I was the news explainer in my friend’s group.
I took it as a mission to understand current events, politics, issues, science, and other topics published in the dailies. I then took great joy in explaining to others what I learnt. It made me feel like a teacher. I felt like I was doing a service.
People do not have the time to read newspapers in detail or view online debates or discussions nowadays. They are not interested in digging deep because it takes a lot of time. But I was! I used to go through all news portals.
I hoped my explainers would aid busy friends in making better decisions and voicing better thoughts.
None of that happened.
It was a stark realization that no number of facts can change someone’s thinking if they are adamant on sticking to their beliefs.
Then I did the unimaginable. I stopped buying newspapers.
One fine day, after reading another mentally distressing news article, I knew it was time to let go. Why pay for something that mentally drains you? We pay therapists to help us, and then we pay to get our daily dose of pessimism from the papers.
A never-ending cycle.
Negativity sells. So you cannot really blame the papers. You will never see happy news printed in big, bold font types on the front page. That’s reserved for the shockers because that is the type of news that sells.
It is human psychology to drift towards things that are infuriating, depressing, triggering. Have you noticed how our mind suddenly decides it’s time to worry about something when we are in a state of bliss? It will rewind to the past and remind you of all the dreadful things. Or it will flash forward to the future and nudge you to start feeling concerned for yourself.
Our brain is just not wired to be in a state of joy 24/7.
Letting go of newspapers was hard. But I realized, if I paid for it, I would keep pushing myself to read it whether I wanted to or not – only because I did not want my money to go to waste.
I understood I wasn’t really reading the papers to enlighten myself of worldly matters, rather I was subjecting myself to it because I subscribed to it. It felt like a chore. It is like paying and getting a gym membership. Shelling out cash is a big motivator to get things done.
How did I feel when I stopped buying newspapers:
- A bit lost at first and a lot of doubt “How am I going to survive without knowing everything in the world in-depth?”
- I slowly started getting used to it.
- I realized I could live without reading every bit of news out there.
- The important news always found its way to me – through social media, people around me, and google alerts set for the news type I wanted to receive.
- Finally, a peace of mind.
I felt less cranky about things, less triggered when I let go of newspapers. The publishers send emails, messages with discount codes for annual subscriptions to lure me back in. I am not yet ready to make that commitment. I am not yet ready to sacrifice my uncluttered mind. I feel free, calm and composed.
Rape, deaths, racism, sexism are all important topics to cover. To read about them every day, though, is emotionally disturbing for someone sensitive like me. Speak up when you have to – your voice counts. But also know it is important to take breaks. If you find yourself getting agitated very often and it is affecting your relationships, it is time to cut off from the negatives. Your mental health should hold precedence over everything else including negative newspapers.
Breathe in the good shit.
Breathe out the bullshit.