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I worked for many years in the newsroom of a newspaper. I had a great and exciting time. Newsrooms are pretty much the places you see in movies or television shows. There's always action, and it's a great experience to create a new and different product every day.
And yet, if you want to embrace optimism as your strategy for health, happiness and success -- and you should because there's not a more efficient one -- I suggest you turn away your newspapers and turn off your television.
If you watch the news or read the papers, you may get the impression that our world is falling apart amidst fraud, murder, greed and environmental destruction. You cannot be blamed; the headlines scream nothing else. However, as much as the mainstream media pride themselves for their objectivity, their perspective on what's going on in our world is completely distorted.
Check it out for yourself and ask your friends and colleagues today -- how are they doing, and in their lives, do more things go right than wrong? You know the answer. We all face challenges and pain from time to time but on any given day more goes right than wrong. That's reality.
The bad news distorts your perspective on what's going on. That's bad enough. But it's worse: Bad news makes you sick. It undermines your healthy optimism as you begin to believe the negativity you are continuously bombarded with.
In the past 20 years many have discovered that what we eat makes a big difference to our health. We have changed our diets. We take better care of our bodies. But most people still don't pay much attention to how they feed their minds. But the impact of that consumption is as deep as what we eat. News is to the mind what sugar is to the body -- easy to digest. And most of that news is irrelevant to you. What can you do now when you hear that a bomb blasted far away in Bagdad? How does that change your life?
News is toxic.
It doesn't have to be but it is. The nature of a news organization is to report about whatever goes wrong. They spread fear and disaster. And they leave their audiences feeling helpless.
There's a lot of research about "learned helplessness," a psychological term meaning depression or other illness resulting from perceived lack of control. And that research points in one direction: emotions of helplessness undermine the immune system, feed depression. Continuous exposure to bad news -- just like ongoing bad eating habits -- makes you sick.
You can change that now. You are responsible about your money and your health -- why give away your mind? So turn off the television, stop surfing news sites, cancel the paper. You'll save a lot of time and you'll quickly discover that the world is a much better place than you think.
P.S. Have you already downloaded my "7 Reasons to Be an Optimist?" You can do so here.
Follow Jurriaan Kamp on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JurriaanKamp