man reading a newspaper

Why You Should Stop Reading The News If You Want To Progress In Life

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  • Adapt  Progress Blocks
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  • Avatar The Envisionary
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  • Adapt  Progress Blocks
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  • Avatar  by The Envisionary

  • There was a time when reading the news or watching the news gave us insight, stimulated our brains to think, and kept us informed, but news today seems to distract us and has more negative consequences to our personal progress in life.

    In an age where information is incessantly bombarding us from various channels, it’s crucial to discern what aids our growth and what hinders it.

    While staying informed is traditionally viewed as beneficial, an overconsumption of news can be counterproductive, especially if you’re striving for personal and professional progression.

    Whilst this also depends on the type of news you read, and its source, generally today we find that news is forced upon us rather than selected proactively due to the desperate demands of the attention economy, and this can be a disaster for our ability to think critically so we can adapt and progress in our daily lives.

    The Negative Impact Of News On Our Ability To Adapt And Progress

    Impeding Adaptation and Change

    Constant exposure to problems and crises, without accompanying solutions or positive outcomes, can lead to feelings of helplessness or apathy. When we’re overwhelmed by the world’s issues, we’re less likely to take proactive steps to adapt or engage in changing our environment for the better.

    Conditioning to Negativity

    Regular exposure to negative news can lead us to develop a skewed perception of reality, focusing more on the negative aspects of life and less on the positive. This negativity bias can affect our mood, increase anxiety, and contribute to a pessimistic outlook on the world.

    Inducing Fear and Stress

    Sensationalised news, which often emphasises threats and conflicts, can trigger our stress responses, leading to a constant state of fear or anxiety. This heightened state of alertness can interfere with our ability to remain calm and make rational decisions.

    TikTok Brain and Reduced Focus

    A modern dilemma is in how we are now so entrenched in an attention economy, where news bites are smaller, are more aggressively pushed to be dramatised (or even be fake news), and younger adults are especially addicted to getting hits of dopamine to feed their conditioned need for instant gratification.

    Yet, people become trapped in this constant cycle because news today focuses more on chemically-induced dopamine hits, rather than providing positive stimulus to stay informed and actively consider debate.

    Creates a Negative Worldview

    Regular exposure to negative news can skew your perception of the world, leading to a more pessimistic outlook. This negativity bias can dampen motivation and the belief in the possibility of positive change, both of which are crucial for adaptability.

    Limits Exposure to Diverse Perspectives

    Focusing too much on the news, especially from single or similar sources, can limit exposure to a variety of perspectives and ideas. Adaptability thrives on diverse experiences and viewpoints, which can be stifled by a narrow focus on current events.

    Encourages Reactive Rather Than Proactive Thinking

    Constant news consumption can lead to a reactive mindset, where one is always responding to external events rather than proactively shaping their environment. Adaptability is about proactive problem-solving and innovation, qualities that can be undermined by a preoccupation with the news.

    Undermines Present-Moment Awareness

    Engrossing oneself in the news can detract from present-moment awareness, an essential component of adaptability. Being present and mindful enhances one’s ability to respond effectively to immediate challenges and opportunities.

    Benefits In Stopping Reading The News (Or Watching The News)

    It Frees Up Time and Mental Energy

    News consumption can be incredibly time-consuming. The hours spent scrolling through headlines or watching news broadcasts accumulate, diverting precious time and mental energy away from activities that could foster your growth and development. By limiting your news intake, you can reallocate that time towards learning new skills, nurturing creativity, or pursuing your goals.

    It Enhances Focus and Productivity

    The news is predominantly designed to capture and retain attention, often leading to a scattered focus and reduced productivity. By distancing yourself from the news, you can cultivate a deeper focus, enabling you to engage more fully with tasks and projects that contribute to your personal and professional advancement.

    It Reduces Stress and Anxiety

    The news media has a tendency to focus on negative events, which can significantly impact your mental health, increasing feelings of stress and anxiety. This constant state of worry not only affects your well-being but also impairs your ability to think clearly and make decisions—key components for progressing in life. Reducing news consumption can help maintain a more balanced emotional state, fostering a conducive environment for growth and decision-making.

    It Promotes a Positive Outlook

    An overemphasis on negative news can skew your perception of the world, leading to a more pessimistic outlook. This negativity bias can be a substantial barrier to progress, as it dampens motivation and the drive to pursue new opportunities. Cultivating a positive mindset is fundamental for overcoming challenges and achieving goals, and distancing yourself from negative news can be a significant step in that direction.

    It Encourages Proactive Rather Than Reactive Behaviour

    Regular news consumption can instigate a reactive mindset, where your thoughts and actions are predominantly responses to external events. Progress in life requires a proactive approach—setting your agenda rather than being swayed by the day’s headlines. By limiting your news intake, you encourage a shift towards proactive living, focusing on actions that align with your long-term goals and aspirations.

    It Enhances Adaptability and Creativity

    Excessive news consumption can lead to a narrow perspective, constrained by the prevailing narratives in the media. Progress often requires thinking outside the box and adapting to changing circumstances. By stepping away from the news, you open yourself up to a broader range of experiences and ideas, fostering creativity and adaptability—traits that are invaluable for personal and professional growth.

    How To Go About Reducing Your News Consumption

    If you’re convinced that dialling down your news intake could benefit your personal and professional growth, but you also think it’s impractical to cut out new completely, you might be wondering how to effectively implement this change.

    Here are practical steps to help you moderate your news consumption, enabling you to focus more on progress and development.

    Set Defined Limits

    Establish specific times for consuming news, such as a brief period in the morning or evening, rather than checking it sporadically throughout the day. This helps to contain your news intake within a designated window, preventing it from spilling over and consuming your time and attention.

    Curate Your News Sources

    Be selective about your news sources. Choose outlets that provide balanced coverage and avoid those that sensationalise or focus heavily on negative stories. This way, when you do consume news, it’s more likely to be informative and less anxiety-inducing.

    Use News Aggregators

    Employ news aggregator apps or websites that compile headlines from various sources. This can help you get a quick overview of the day’s important events without getting bogged down in endless articles or sensationalist coverage.

    Implement Technology Tools

    Make use of website blockers or screen time management tools to limit your access to news sites or apps outside of your designated news consumption time. This can help curb the impulse to check the news whenever you have a free moment.

    Engage in News Fasts

    Try taking regular breaks from the news, such as a day each week or one week per month, where you abstain from all news consumption. This can help reset your relationship with the news and reduce its hold on your attention and emotions.

    Replace News with Positive Activities

    Identify activities that contribute to your growth and well-being and use them to replace the time you would typically spend on news. This could include reading books, pursuing a hobby, exercising, or learning a new skill. Engaging in these activities not only enriches your life but also serves as a positive distraction from the news.

    Practice Mindful Consumption

    When you do consume news, do so mindfully. Be aware of how the news is affecting your emotions and thoughts. If you find yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed, take a step back and reassess whether you need to continue consuming at that moment.

    Stay Informed Through Summaries

    Consider using services that provide summaries of the day’s or week’s important news. This can keep you informed without the need to delve into every article or report, reducing the time spent and the potential for stress.

    Whilst it’s more psychologically beneficial for us to cut out unnecessary news where possible, and to avoid being dragged into echo chambers, if we are going to seek out summaries then we probably at first think watching video summaries is better, as it’s quicker and easier to do so.

    However, we are more likely to get drawn into more content when the content is visual as it leads to more passive ‘dopamine-chasing’ reactions than reading does, so seeking out news through reading text can be more beneficial to our brain if we do have to choose between reading and watching.

    Foster a Supportive Environment

    Share your goals with friends or family members who might be interested in joining you in reducing news consumption. Having a support network can provide encouragement and accountability, making it easier to stick to your new habits.

    Reflect on the Impact

    Regularly reflect on how these changes are affecting your life. Are you feeling less stressed? More focused? More productive? Observing positive outcomes can reinforce your commitment to reduced news consumption and motivate you to continue.

    To foster adaptability, it’s advisable to cultivate a balanced approach to news consumption.

    This can involve designated times for checking the news, choosing diverse and reliable sources, and balancing news intake with activities that promote personal growth, stress management, and a positive outlook. By doing so, you can maintain awareness of world events while also nurturing the flexibility and resilience that are key to adaptability in life.

    Reducing news consumption is not about becoming uninformed; it’s about regaining control over your time and mental resources to invest in activities that truly contribute to your growth and well-being.