How to let go of your need to be informed at all times

“Don’t confuse information with trusting what you hear or read on the news. The most trustworthy information is what you feel in your gut.” ~Charles F. Glassman

I was in my kitchen enjoying breakfast when a report of a murder was mentioned as one of the radio news headlines.

One of my boys started asking me questions I couldn’t answer. They were questions about a detail of the murder that I didn’t know, and also about larger life issues that I was having trouble getting to grips with at 7am.

I decided to turn off the radio, told the guys we’d talk about it later, and then removed the radio from the kitchen. That was in 2019 and since then I haven’t missed the radio anymore.

I always had a radio in my kitchen and always listened to a talk-based radio station, so it felt awkward for the first week or so, but over time we started talking more as a family in the mornings because we didn’t all had an ear tuned to the news.

A mentor and friend of mine told me a while back that she doesn’t see the news anymore. This gave me the permission I needed to embrace this new way of life with no news. I never questioned her decision or asked for more details about her decision. I knew something was upside down inside me; I would no longer consume the news. For me that would mean radio, television, newspaper and social media.

I had to develop some new habits around my news consumption. The next time I drove, I took a selection of my old CDs and a charger to plug my phone in so I could listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I used to always check the headlines at 10pm, but I decided to leave the sofa at 9:59pm and hop straight into bed at that time. I also stopped buying weekend newspapers and turned off all news notifications on my phone.

My husband occasionally says, “Oh, did you hear this and that on the news?” and I say, “No, don’t forget, I don’t get the news anymore,” and then we start talking about something else.

I understand that the news highlights stories of human interest, and some of the need to feel connected could be met through news picking up, but I had to turn away when it all became too much.

When COVID struck, I questioned my decision. Was I intentionally ignorant? Well, no, actually. I do not think so.

I was working in local government at the time and all my work was face to face with very vulnerable people. My manager was masterful at protecting his team of employees and giving us all the information we needed to do our job as safely as possible. There was no way the media, whether local or national, could have helped me. I knew what was going on because of course people told me. Sometimes I was willing to listen to a bit of detail, but most of the time I wasn’t.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not keeping up with the news. I am very aware of what I can control in my life. And I know that most of what I would see, hear or read on the news would not affect me directly. I found that the news always made me feel worse than before I heard or saw it.

I also realized that I didn’t take the time to look at different news sources or solicit different viewpoints, so what I got was incredibly biased. It seemed to repeat debt, a disaster, or some kind of controversy. I was not uplifted in any way.

I realized that my life will be short enough. Sometimes I don’t have enough time for the things I really want. So why was I wasting a precious second doing something I had no control or influence over?

I volunteer one morning a week with refugees and asylum seekers who tell me their stories. I would much rather hear realities firsthand from people who are in the same room as me.

Since turning off all the news channels in my house, I’ve been able to focus more on my intuition and gut feelings. The less I’ve consumed other people’s opinions on world affairs, the more I can hear my soul’s whispers.

Of course, if I need to know something, I can go and look it up. My own research is tailored to what I want or need. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I feel like everything in my life is a little better without consuming the news like I used to. I save some money and time and experience a lot less anxiety. All the best in my opinion.

I don’t know if I will ever see, hear or read the news again. I haven’t missed it in three years (a lot has happened apparently), and I’m fine without it.

If you’re also considering unsubscribing, it might help to first ask yourself why you felt the need to stay informed at all times. Does it stem from fear and a desire to feel safe or in control? Or do you just not want to be ignorant of something that everyone else might know and discuss? Then ask yourself what you’re really gaining and what you’re losing—like time, energy, or rest.

Once you understand why you keep turning on, turning off will be a lot easier.

If the idea of ​​eliminating all messages seems like too much for you right now, maybe you could try reducing it in one area of ​​your life. Read a novel rather than a newspaper on Sundays. Watch the headlines at 6 p.m., but don’t watch the whole program. Listen to a podcast about a topic you’re passionate about, not a topic you think you should know.

We’re bombarded with information these days, but we can choose what to absorb based on what feels best to us.

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