Archive | January, 2009

Does the news ever make you depressed?

3 Jan

You know, it’s been getting harder and harder to watch/read/listen to the news and not get really depressed. I’ve never been one to believe that our time is worst than any other times. There have been bad presidents before, unpopular wars, a new kid in town, a horrific natural disaster, people inventing amazing stuff, people getting ready to blow up the world, etc. etc. etc. What I think is different is that because we have access to all this media constantly we can constantly hear about all the horrible things happening. I like to keep myself informed, and I want to know what’s happening in Darfur, or Gaza, or even South Dakota. But there is a point when your brain simply says “stop it! I can’t take it anymore! I can’t hear about school children being blown up by suicide bombers, or peoples mothers getting caught in a fire, or anything else! Just watch Spongebob!”

Hearing about all this bad stuff sometimes turns into stress, but stress can be good. Stress can motivate you to sign a petition because you’re worried about the welfare of children, or it can make you want to tell other people to watch out for that crazy thing in the plastic of water bottles that leaches something and might poison them. It can make you more careful, it can make you stop procrastinating, and it can challenge you to do better. But when stress turns into distress it’s bad. Distress is when your mind says “alright! Enough! I can’t take this anymore” and you might completely try to ignore whatever is causing you stress, or it can immobilize you.

It always comes down to moderation, doesn’t it? I wish the news would practice that too. They should give equal reporting to things that are important but not necessarily bad. Important laws set into place don’t need to take a spin of “You might be ticketed next time you jaywalk, and it will cost you.” Everything is so much about putting us in a sense of stress so that we’re too terrified to watch turn the channel. But we don’t get to hear what happened during the peace accords, we don’t get to hear what diplomacy is taking place, or at least it’s not as in-depth as the bleeding news. I know it doesn’t sell as well as horrific news, or dangerous and scary news, but if people there are people trying to improve the health of society through prevention, or medicine, or whatnot, than shouldn’t there be some responsibility from people who can cause distress too? Distress is a strong social indicator of health status.

Anyway, I’m rambling. I think you get my point.