It’s important to consider how digesting such a news diet affects us.
In a TED talk, economist JP Rangaswami compared the health effects of news consumption to those of eating only fast food. He referred to the movie ‘Supersize Me’ where such consumption proved unhealthy.
No doubt there is an ethical dilemma here – telling the news in a compelling manner and in a competitive environment– but toning down the theatrics or sensationalism.
We all wish to keep informed of local and world events, but a constant diet of negative news stories would have us wrongly believe that a higher ratio of bad things happen than good, and that we are vulnerable to these bad things.
In fact, some of the most important stories are under told – such as the decline of poverty, illiteracy and disease throughout the world.
Research tells us a lot about the effect on health of what we humanly think. So, is there any way – other than completely tuning out the news – to counteract the fear that we have no control over negative events that may affect our health and well-being?
During the outbreak of the Ebola virus, a friend called me greatly worried that after a trip overseas, she could have come in contact with this disease. The daily headlines were ‘feasting’ on this topic, you might say, and her consumption of this news was fueling her fears.
Because she was familiar with the Bible, I suggested she turn to the wisdom and comfort of the Psalms where there is an acknowledgement of the one source King David could depend upon: “In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion.”
We reasoned together that, since we are the loved children of the same Lord that David referred to, it made sense that we could trust our health to this one all-caring God.
Admitting her spiritual nature as a beloved child of an all-loving and all-powerful God, she could feel reassured that she, and everyone, were held safe in the way the Bible promises, “And if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; and they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Her fear subsided and she found peace of mind.
In my experience, regardless of the headlines, better health and greater peace result from acknowledging only one power and control in my life – that of an all-loving God, one infinite Mind, governing humanity in safety and security.
Each reader – even a ‘newshound’ – can watch their news diet and seek out sources that bring honesty and clarity, comfort and reconciliation to problems facing humanity. By shifting our thinking towards a more balanced and compassionate view of news events, we can feel at peace.
This article is published in the Metroland Media news editions throughout Ontario, such as Mississauga News.