We’re being flooded with negativity. Every day, it seems, there’s something newly horrific, upsetting, depressing, embarrassing, or just wrong that comes across our news feeds or in our personal communications.
I think it’s having a deeper impact on our collective well-being than most people realize.
That was brought home to me again this morning when I received the following in response to one of my mailings:
Thank you for the link to the good stories. I’ve been feeling more depressed than usual lately, and the smile and tears today helped improve my mood. With all the bad and discouraging news that fills the airwaves and online, it is good to be reminded that the good does outweigh the bad and garbage.
I’ve said for a long time that most news is news precisely because it’s unusual. It’s the exception, not the rule. Yet when faced with a constant stream of negativity, it’s all too easy to start to feel just the opposite — to “normalize” what we read and hear.
A constant diet of negative news is bad for you. It can “…exacerbate or contribute to the development of stress, anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
– Not All News Is Bad, “About” page
But it’s not normal. Not only should we not accept it as normal, we also need to realize that all this negativity we hear is far, far outweighed in everyday life by the common and the good we don’t see — the common and the good that really is normal.
There’s an antidote, and the commenter above nails it: “… it is good to be reminded that the good does outweigh the bad and garbage.”
That’s why I started supporting HeroicStories many years ago, and took the project on as its publisher in 2014. Twice weekly original stories reminding us that people are good and that individuals, and individual actions, matter.
That’s why I started “Not All News Is Bad” earlier this year — daily links to a variety of more positive stories. News of humanity making progress. News of people doing good. Stories to inspire and give hope.
That’s why I support projects like “The Daily Corgi.” Yes, I’m a fan of the breed, but more to the point, each day TDC shares something lighthearted, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It reminds you for a moment that there are many, many good things going on, things to give us joy if we’d only just look at them for a moment. Sometimes they’re right at our feet.
You can help, too.
You can do the same.
- Start sharing some good news with your friends, instead of continually debating the current state of affairs.
- Read something other than news. Perhaps even step away from it for a while.
- Don’t correct someone who’s wrong on the internet. (Bonus points: compliment them instead. 🙂 )
- Support organizations that make the world a more positive place — by whatever definition you choose. Do so in whatever way you choose. It doesn’t have to be financial, though that’s often the most effective.
- Support people that need it. Donate to a GoFundMe that comes across your radar, or consider something like micro-lending at Kiva.org.
Basically, use the resources you have to take action that makes your world, and the world of the people around you, a more positive place.
Make a difference.
To be clear, I’m not saying that the current state of the world isn’t important — it is. And I’m not saying we should completely ignore what’s going on around us — we shouldn’t.
What I’m saying is that in our focus on those things, it’s easy to lose sight of all that remains good and true and honest around us. The difference we can all make is to notice those things and balance the actions we take so we’re not guilty of simply spreading more negativity.
We can all, in our own small ways, make the world a better place.