Who’s fault is it that you’re emotional about news coverage of COVID-19?
To be fair, some media outlets and pundits do like to scare us. You may not even realize that your go-to “news” channel may be scaring you at least as much as “the other” channels are scaring “those people.”
Last time I checked, we Americans still had the freedom to turn off our televisions and do something else.
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash
I’ve created an assessment to help you figure out if, perhaps, you need to turn off your television and find something else to do.
Chances are, if you’re struggling and don’t know it, you’ll know by Question 5 if you need to turn off the fear-mongering spigot that you invite into your home day-by-day and hour-after-hour.
Remember, I’m not asking you to assess someone else’s news habits. You assess your habits and let someone else assess his/her habits.
Is Your Favorite News Channel Robbing You of Your Serenity?
- Do you regularly watch a 24-hour news channel?
- If so, how much time do you spend watching the news on television?
- Do you talk back to the television?
- If so, what do you say?
- Ascribe emotions to your words:
- Encouraging, Exhorting, or otherwise cheering for a person, an institution, or an idea
- When was the last time you chose to go at least 24 hours of not watching the news? It’s not difficult to do amidst COVID-19 - because we have access to live stream briefings from local, state, and federal authorities.
- When was the last time you watched the news from a different media outlet?
- How did you feel about what you heard?
- Were you uncomfortable?
- How do you decide between fact and opinion?
- Do you think you ever get emotional because you hear a truth you’d rather not confront because you’ve believed something untrue for so long?
- When was the last time you realized something you’ve believed for a long, long time was actually not true?
- How did you react?
- If you’re a follower of Christ, how often do you stop and pray about something you watched on television that made you emotional?
- Do you ever ascribe slang terms of derision to a political opponent or someone who’s not like you?
- Is it difficult for you to imagine that a political opponent loves your country as much as you do?
- If you’re a follower of Christ, do you find it difficult to imagine that a political opponent is also as authentic a Christian as you?
- If you’re a follower of Christ, do you find it difficult to imagine that Jesus shed as much blood for a political opponent as He did for you?
If you answered 5 to 10 of these questions honestly, you know whether or not it’s time for a television news fast.
If television news makes you angry, anxious, or frustrated, it’s time for a break.
Right now, I encourage you to make a list of things you could do in lieu of your usual time in front of the television watching news.
Replace TV News with These Activities:
- Pray or meditate.
- Read a book - if you’re a Christ-follower, what does scripture have to say about your heart? Consider meditating on the Psalms or journaling your way through Jesus’ encounter with Satan and His subsequent Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew.
- Take an appropriately social-distanced walk in the woods or a park.
- Watch a Facebook Live workout video.
- FaceTime or Zoom a friend or family member.
- Sew some masks.
- Work in the yard.
- Take a nap.
- Write a poem.
- Listen to music that makes you want to dance - or relax.
- Turn on the recorder option on your phone and record some of your favorite childhood memories for posterity.
- Cook an ambitious - or a simple - meal.
- Develop a gratitude habit via my 30 Days of Gratitude: COVID-19 Edition.
These pursuits are so much more valuable than spending time yelling at an inanimate object.
What sorts of activities help you maintain a healthy approach to uncertainty in the midst of this pandemic?
I’d love to hear from you at @Tracyplaces on Twitter or email@example.com.
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