You need to stop watching the news! It’s doing you far more harm than good. If that sounds outrageous, hear me out.
This article presents 10 benefits of not watching the news, presented from the point of a certified life coach.
Ready? Let’s go!
1. You’ll Be Happier
“If it bleeds, it leads” is a famous catchphrase in journalism.
This means that the biggest dramas, catastrophes and tragedies get the most coverage.
It’s a rule adopted throughout the media because bad news garners the most attention. Good news is bad for ratings.
So, in order to grab and keep as much as attention as possible, many news reports will embellish the negativity to make it as outrageous as they can get away with.
A lot of people might notice they feel less happy after watching the news (even after the token light-hearted positive story at the end). As such, they probably know they’d be happier if they quit watching it.
Yet, most people still watch every day because they think they need to. At the end of the article, I’d like you to ask yourself if that’s really true.
2. You’ll Be Less Fearful
It’s in the best interests of news broadcasters to try and make you think you need to watch their show every day.
That’s a key reason why a lot of news stories are designed to invoke fear.
The fear of death, illness, loss of wealth and loss of comfort motivate a lot of human decisions. We respond to fear more readily than we do potential prosperity.
The newscasters know this and lead with the most fear-inducing stories, and its audience becomes hooked off the belief they need the news to know what dangers to avoid in life.
This overemphasis on violence, crime and danger makes us over-estimate how much of it there is in our world. This can create more fear or distrust than necessary within people.
Yes, the right amount of fear keeps us safe and well. You can obtain that from good parenting and common sense. Too much fear ruins our enjoyment of life – and that’s what the news is probably doing to you.
3. You Can Focus On Relevant Problems
Answer this question: Has watching or reading the news ever had a significant impact on the direction of your life?
I’d bet if anything happened that you needed to know, you would have heard about it some other way.
Yet, the majority of news we consume is about things that don’t affect us at all.
Some people may argue they need to stay informed, so they know who to vote for. Yet, a lot of these people will only consume media that supports their existing viewpoints. Plus, after a certain age, it’s rare for people to change their political stance.
What’s more, even if they did and their vote made all the difference, the impact would be minimal (at least compared to what the media suggests). Perhaps they’d pay slightly more tax or get more government handouts, but the overall direction of their life would remain more or less the same.
Yet, so many people still obsess over political news. Worse yet, despite living thousands of miles away, they spend their time watching footage from the latest natural disaster or terrorist attack.
The decision to do that becomes more baffling when that person has serious problems on their own doorstep.
There must be plenty of people that watch the news who:
- don’t have enough money;
- don’t have the job they truly want;
- don’t know how to use important technology;
- don’t have a satisfying social life;
- don’t have close ties with their family;
- don’t have a house they’re proud to live in.
Instead of watching the news, they could be fixing or learning how to fix these problems. Instead, they’re hearing about problems that are completely irrelevant to them.
4. You Can Face Your Demons Head-On
When we have problems in our life, it’s not easy to face them. Most people prefer to distract themselves.
News consumption is one of the lesser-discussed forms of distraction. However, it’s a relatively common one, because (as discussed) it can feel like you’re making a difference to your life by watching the news.
But let me ask you again: has consuming the news ever had a significant impact on the direction of your life?
The answer might shatter your illusions about its importance.
How about you use this time to face your demons? Ask yourself why you’re unhappy and what you can do to fix it. This will surely have a bigger impact on your life than the daily news ever will.
This same point can be argued for anything you watch on television. Most people like to watch TV to try to unwind after a long day. There is some merit to that, provided you don’t overdo it.
But watching the news to unwind is a horrible idea. Even if you like to check up on current issues and events around the world, you’ll usually feel less relaxed after a 30-minutes news broadcast than you did before it started.
5. You Can Become More Intelligent
Some people suggest that watching the news makes them more intelligent. Yes, it will give you more general knowledge, but when will that actually become useful outside of a TV quiz show?
You could use that time to gain knowledge that will actually help you earn a promotion, or to switch careers.
This is intelligence that will actually benefit you.
6. You’ll Be Able To Think For Yourself
Most news broadcasts has a bias of some kind – and most people know that.
In fact, a lot of people like being told what to think. It involves less mental bandwidth and many people believe this makes life easier for them.
The problem is: when enough people believe everything they’re told by mainstream news, it becomes easy for an entire nation to be misled by propaganda, and that’s when truly harmful things can happen to society.
By not consuming mainstream TV news at all, you’re more inclined to think for yourself. And that’s important to stop the world’s leaders gaining too much control of society
7. You’ll Become A Better Listener
Some people want to check the news, so they can talk about current events with other people.
But what would really happen if you stopped watching the news? Would it be so bad?
Could it be that you’re forced to learn about the other person and their lives, instead of making meaningless smalltalk about things that don’t affect you? That would probably help to create a stronger friendship.
If that person brings up a news story he’d recently read on the internet, you can ask them to tell you all about it! Show them you want to learn! They’d probably jump at the chance to let you know what’s going on, and they’ll probably feel better about you for giving them that opportunity.
It’s a well-known social rule that people grow to like those who let them speak most.
8. You Can Consume Better News Sources Instead (If You Really Have To)
Everything that appears on the news is important to someone.
If a dangerous criminal was on the loose in your city, you might care to stay informed on what is being done to catch them.
If there was a new tax introduced for high-earners in America – and you happen to work in the U.S as an accountant – this is clearly something you need to know about.
But, even then, mainstream TV and newspapers are rarely the best source of information about these issues.
Many of these news sources are created to shock and entertain, as much as they inform. They have limited time and space to convey information. They also have to pump out new content on a daily basis. So, are they really going to do the best job of keeping you informed?
Your time is better spent gathering information from a reputable journal or niche news websites that isn’t targeting the general public.
These publications put far more effort into gathering information and creating quality long-form journalism. They are less likely to engage in clickbait or shock journalism because they’re not writing for ‘the masses’. As such, they’re a much better source of quality information than the 5-minute dopamine-driven rollercoaster of a TV news story.
9. You’ll Have More Time To Enjoy Your Life
To summarise, the majority of mainstream news is:
- focusing on negative events;
- harmful to your mood and potentially your mental health;
- dumbed-down and sensationalised;
- designed to make you sad, angry or fearful;
- irrelevant to the overall direction of your life.
We only get one shot at living on this planet. Time is precious. Why spend it consuming unhelpful and harmful media when we could be doing something fun or useful?
Any Questions About Why You Shouldn’t Watch The News?
Thanks for reading my article! As with most opinion pieces, this is a debate with two sides.
I’ve presented my argument for why you should quit watching the news. I want to share my thoughts rather than change your mind.
You may agree. You might have already decided to never give time to the news again. Perhaps you wish you stopped years ago.
Or maybe you’re going to keep thinking the news has a positive impact on your life and you need to check it every single day.
Either way, if you’d like to tell me your thoughts around this topic, feel free to post a comment below.
I’m excited to read what you have to say