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Slow Down With A News Fast

We are a nation of news junkies.
  • 24 hr cable news on television
  • Newspapers
  • News magazines
  • News radio
  • News on our computers
  • News on our smartphones

We receive a constant on-going stream of information at a rate which is impossible to process.   No wonder our brains our tired.  No wonder we find it hard to relax.

Much of the news we receive has little bearing on our daily lives.   Most of the news we see, hear, and read is about violence around the world,  murders, war, assaults, disasters, crime, financial crisis, unemployment,  politics.   We flood our mind with negativity.  No wonder we find it harder and harder to relax.

A number of studies have shown that images and reports of violence, death and disaster can cause undesirable changes in one’s mood. Further, such images can aggravate pre-existing anxiety, sadness and depression.

Yet many of us are addicted to the news.  Even though we know we are overloaded, even though we know that the news is often exaggerated to play on our emotions, we remain bound by our perceived need to know.

But it doesn't have to be this way.  We don't have to expose our minds to this constant stream of tension building information.   We can take a break....a fast....from the news.   We can free ourselves from our addiction.

The reason I recommend "news fasts" is because research has shown that the emotional content of television news can affect mood and aggravate sadness and depression. Addictive watching of news programs can also promote a negative view of life.
-- Dr Andrew Weil

Start by asking yourself how much of the news actually effects you personally; how is your daily life, your daily decision making, impacted by the content of the news.
Ask yourself, How much of the news you take in is repetitive; a rehashing of the same information over and over and over again?

Fasting is usually thought of as " an act of willing abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time."

There are many reasons for fasting. Some fast for religious reasons, some to draw attention to social or political concerns. One of the most common reasons for fasting is detoxification. Detoxification via fasting is undertaken to rid the body of toxins - accumulated harmful substances that allegedly exert undesirable effects on individual health in the short or long term. Fasting for detoxification usually involves avoiding specific foods (such as fats, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, juices, herbs, or water), for a period of time.

 But our minds can benefit from detoxification just as much as are bodies do. When we expose our minds to toxins over a period of time we become numbed, paralyzed, nervous, anxious, tense, agitated. Most of the news we read, see, or hear tends to be "toxic". It's upsetting.   It's designed to manipulate our emotions and it's very successful at it.

Are you addicted to the news?
Could your mind benefit from a fast from the news in order to detoxify? 

 Some choose to go "cold turkey" and avoid news consumption for a period of time. Start with taking a 24 hour break from the news.  Then build up to 2 days, 4 days, a week.  

Others choose a more moderate approach and limit their new intake.
Researchers have found that "visual news" contributes more to news overload than "audio news". 
Listening to the hourly new broadcast on NPR radio provides most of the "important'" news of the day.

Perusing the newspaper one can choose which articles to read, which articles contain information which actually impacts your daily life. 

Some choose to take control of their news intake by restricting their news to on-line sources and limiting themselves to spending no more than 30 minutes a day catching up with the news on the internet.

Whatever method works best for you, the important thing is to begin today to limit your exposure to toxic news.

News overload has harmful effects on our mind and our physical bodies. Choose today to improve your mental and physical health by fasting from the news. You'll be amazed at the results.