THE BLOG

Why I'm Not Reading The News (And Neither Should You)

24/02/2017 13:41 GMT | Updated 24/02/2017 13:41 GMT

It's been a gruelling time for newshounds as the fortunes of the world shake like a rollercoaster on a windy day.

With constant updates on social media the rollercoaster seems to move faster and faster and the calm quiet spaces in between big news stories, where we can get some light relief, are disappearing.

Last week, I stepped off the news rollercoaster and had a break. After idly staring at a vast starry sky on a lonely beach I made a decision not to get back on that crazy ride and ignore the newsfeed on my phone. At least for a while.

I came up with FOUR good reasons for this during my starlight epiphany:

Missing the moment! Keeping on looking at the news stories popping up on my phone, meant missing out on the totally gorgeous reality of the natural beauty around me. Reality: sparkles up in the sky, the sea swishing onto the sand, a bar of dark chocolate and the feeling of a loved ones hand in mine. Not things I want to miss.

Paranoia! l hate to admit it but the contant stream of news had turned me into a nervous wreck, walking a thin line between shock, horror and utter confusion every day. Living in London, I'd find myself looking askance at people, wondering how they voted, what they thought of Donald Trump, whether their hearts had been broken by celebrity deaths, wondering if they felt judged and alienated. Constantly wearing news-goggles was making me incapable of nodding an innocent good morning to ordinary folk going about their business and I wanted to go back to a time when I could make happy connections with people in the city I love.

Addiction! Wanting to keep up to date on the news is like watching a soap opera, riding the ups and downs, enjoying the highs and lows, waiting for the next adrenalin hit. If I spent the same amount of time watching films on the sofa I would be considered lazy and self indulgent. Yet a 'news' addiction is justified by the fact that it's all about 'serious' world affairs. But if I'm honest, despite giving me cause play politico and to rant and rave (and occasionally sign a petition or attend a rally) it is just another form of EastEnders.

I'm outa control! Keeping update to date with what is happening on the news gives me a fake sense of control. It's a fundamental rational desire that to understand the world I need to find out all the facts. If I line up all the facts, everything will make perfect sense. And if I can make sense of everything, I am totally in control. Unfortunately the more facts I uncover, the less I understand. Admitting this isn't good. The truth is, I am not even a teeny bit in control and this makes me feel helpless and vulnerable and a wee bit sad.

The question is, will not following the news make me more present, less paranoid and back in control? Will I kick the addiction? Will I feel lost without knowing about current events? Sorry I can't answer that yet.

I can however confirm that my abstinence from news has not stopped it happening. The worried looks on my friends' faces tells me there is plenty of news in the world. Just don't ask me what it is. I'm going outside now to gaze at the sky.