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What’s a news fast? Why you should do it?

Fasting generally refers to the act of refraining yourself from eating food for a certain period. Many people fast on specific days based on their religious beliefs. It is a common practice in almost all religions. However, fasting, apart from being a religious practice, also improves your mood and alertness. These are a few advantages of fasting food. But there’s something called a news fast. This article is all about convincing you to go on a news fast. Without any further delay, let’s explore.

What’s a news fast?

Going on a news fast means restricting yourself from going after news channels and social media for hot updates on the latest happenings around the world, for a certain period. By doing so, you limit the negativity from entering into your head.

Our mind is naturally inclined towards negativity. This phenomenon is referred to as the “Negativity Bias” by psychological researchers. There’s a reason why we’re inclined to negativity. Ancient people didn’t have the comfort of living in a concrete house. They’ve to be in constant lookout for threats from animals and natural disasters. That is, they should be actively seeking what’s wrong around them. This helped them to survive. Today the world has evolved but not our brain. We’re still having the same primitive brain that our ancestors had to perceive and react to threats.

The media has taken advantage of this fact. They continuously feed us with tons of negative news. But the truth is that, even if this news doesn’t reach us, still it’d be fine to carry on with our lives. Positive things happen around the world 9 out of 10 times. And they go unnoticed. But once a negative thing happens, it’s ready to make the headlines. A thing of concern here is that 90 percent of the news that we hear daily are negative ones.

Here the purpose of news channels needs to be questioned. Are they working to keep us informed or are they working to keep us entertained? In most cases, the answer is yes to the latter question.

What does negative news do to us?

  1. It makes us believe that the world is full of mean and cruel people, which is untrue.
  2. It destroys our mood and makes us feel depressed and anxious.
  3. They spread hatred by projecting a false image of politicians and celebrities.
  4. It causes stress which ultimately results in cardiovascular diseases and arthritis.
  5. Regular news consumption is linked with a decrease in productivity as they are purely for entertainment purposes and are not actionable.
  6. Crime documentaries that replay a murder or domestic violence are sure to create a sense of uncertainty and spoil the mood.

And the list goes on and on. I don’t want to ram you with more of these ill effects that negative news can have on us. The point that I’m trying to make here is not that you should be completely unaware of what’s happening around you. But to limit yourself and let only important ones reach you.

going on a news fast

How to limit news intake and go on a news fast?

Now, I am going to list out some ideas to limit the news consumption. I want you to try them for yourself and comment later on your experience.

  • No matter what, really important happenings will find you in some way or other, without you reaching for it.
  • Schedule a day once in two weeks to listen to a standard news channel that delivers only the news and not their opinions.
  • Completely ignore the intake of gossips involving people of various streams.
  • Ignore the debates on various issues that are telecasted in the media.
  • Decrease the time spent on social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • If you’re a regular news consumer, it might be difficult in the beginning to start news fasting. So the best way is to plan for an alternate activity like calling your loved ones, meditating, stretching, etc during the time which you earlier used for consuming news.

Listen to positive news daily

The negative stories are the ones that affect our mood and behavior. But not the positive ones. Many news networks around the world offer you positive happenings regularly. I’ve mentioned some of them here.

  1. Good News Network
  2. Positive News
  3. The Better India
  4. Positive India
  5. The Optimist Daily

Listening to positive reports can uplift our mood and brighten up our day. It restores our trust in human beings. There are a lot of good things around us. Let’s focus on them instead of giving our attention to the common negative news.

The viewership of the above news networks that present positive articles is nothing compared to the news channels that deliver negative scoops. That’s the reason why news channels are primarily relying on negative broadcasts. It increases their viewership, which in turn increases their revenue from advertising agencies.

The negative reports put food on the plate of the media telecasting them and poison the mind of the people consuming them. That’s the sad truth here and we’ve to realize it.

I want to make this clear

I’m strictly not against news that keeps us informed of what’s happening. But way too much negativity is sure to destroy our well-being and normal life. They’re designed in such a way that we tend to believe that the world is falling apart and everything is abnormal, which isn’t true.

For example, let’s consider this COVID-19 situation that the world faces now. Yes, it’s a deadly virus and has certainly changed the way we live. But, believe me, the world isn’t falling apart as the media projects. Many people might’ve lost their lives, but still, a lot more people have survived even at ages above 90.

If we take care of our hygiene, surely we’ll emerge much stronger on the other side of this. If you’ve been following the number of cases in your country and city for the past few days, I want you to consider taking a break. Stop looking for the number of cases. It’ll only create more anxiety and stress. Above all, it makes you believe that you’re under threat.

Just adopt a good personal hygiene routine and you’re safe. Look after yourself and your family. That’s all you need to do.

Just take a break.

Summing Up

I’m sure that now you’re convinced that news channels are spoiling your mood. Yes, indeed they are. But, that’s their job. Let them do it. You just limit the intake of negative news. If you do that, you’ll see yourself dealing with less fear and more confidence. I’ve been avoiding the news for the past two weeks now. I heard from my friends that the cases are steadily increasing day by day in my city. But I didn’t take note of the numbers. However, I didn’t panic on hearing them. Because I know that I’m safe. How? I’ve adopted a routine that makes me less susceptible to the virus. I hope you do the same and feel the river of joy flowing inside you. Make sure you comment after one week of a news fast. I’ll be sharing the routine that I’m following in the next post.

FOOTNOTES

I came to know about “Negativity bias” when I googled why we’re so much interested in watching these news channels.

The idea of going on a news fast was introduced to me by the personal development expert Robin Sharma. He has written about it in his book “Who will cry when you die” I highly recommend that you read this book because it changes the way you view the world.

I thank Peter H. Diamandis who wrote the article on “Why we love bad news: Understanding Negativity Bias” on the website bigthink.com. It’s from this article that I learned that 90 percent of the news that we consume are negative ones.

When I decided to go on a news fast, it was difficult in the beginning. But later I realized that I’ve made one of the best decisions.

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