No News is Good News 10:52 a.m. 2006-05-05

This morning, I finished listening to the CD of Maureen Dowd's book Are Men Necessary? I didn't even know who she was - I just found the title provocative. In the end, except for her recounting of conversations with Helen Gurley Brown, it was pretty boring. And, I'm sorry, but her voice was a bit nasal and whiney; her delivery a little too deliberate.

My husband, of course, knew who she was and even referred to SNL's Tina Fey's constant lampooning of her. This is not uncommon - I do occasionally listen to NPR news when I am between books on CD, but I don't really like listening to the news. MY husband is an avid reader and watcher of the news, so if the world is going to explode, he will tell me. I have recently made it a prerequisite that every piece of bad news should be accompanied by good news. We'll see how that goes.

Lest you think that I am some sort of moron, I must quote Dr. Andrew Weil, who says:

"The reason I recommend “news fasts” is because research has shown that the emotional content of television news can affect mood and aggravate sadness and depression. Addictive watching of news programs can also promote a negative view of life."

He also said this in an article about mental stress:

"News reports can also profoundly affect your mental state. They can increase anxiety, give you new possibilities for worry and play on your desire for emotional stimulation. Notice the effect that news has on your mental equilibrium. Like caffeine addiction, news addiction is a major roadblock to learning to relax. Experiment with breaking the news habit, then use your power of choice to tune into news selectively and consciously."

We'll just ignore the little part about caffeine addiction...

I have always been this way - listening to awful things in the world that I can do little about just depresses me. No, I am not some terminally cheerful Pollyanna, chirping happily all the time. After all, I am a middle school teacher - I get enough reality without actively seeking it!

Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artist's Way, also talks about the value of taking time away from the news. (By the way, she has a new book and website - go register!)

I have also read about the Television Fast, with Turn Off Your TV week happening every year now. Now, I still watch a bit of TV, but not nearly as much as I used to. When we moved into our new house 3 years ago, we decided not to get cable, instead using only the 10 or so channels we could get with an antenna. I thought I could never survive without The Food Network, but I have.

If I had to profess an addiction to anything (beside food), it would be to my computer. I spend way too much time there. It is part of my school day, a major part of my business life, as well as an engrossing pastime. Especially Google. I can spend an hour or so in a trance of a Google image search, looking for the perfect fleur de lis or some other image. OR, I play the ADD game of planning on researching one thing, only to get off on a tangent about another.

Okay, enough computer - I will be spending the afternoon looking for a new dog at all of the Animal Rescue sites, and I need to get up and move my big behind while I still have a planning period!

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