It used to be that news was something you could get for an hour per day. Thirty minutes for local and thirty for national and international. If you missed it, you could read the paper the following day. So when a tragedy struck somewhere outside of your neighborhood, your intake of that tragedy was limited to an hour of news and usually less. After all, the news programs had to deliver everything that had happened that day in just one hour, and without any scrolling text at the bottom of the screen to feed our hyperactive minds.
That’s the way it was, and much though I hate sounding like a crotchety old man, that’s the way it should be. Not just for watching a tragedy like the one now in Haiti, but for any great sadness, disappointment, or frustration in our lives. Ruminating and playing the same negative tape over and over only serves to reinforce anxiety, anger, and hopelessness.
We should stay informed. We should not ignore the problems in our world. But we should limit our exposure to them. Give yourself a half-hour to get caught up on the news today. If you are frustrated or angry with something in your life and you feel you must experience that anger, allow yourself a few minutes to dwell on it. Then push yourself to move on. If you have a hard time moving on, try completing this sentence 10 times:
I am so incredibly lucky because . . .
BTW, I wrote yesterday about ways to help Haiti including my personal recommendation to text “haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross’s International Response Fund. If you did, you weren’t alone. Turns out the response was historic.