Do you read “potato-chip news”?

This morning I’ve read this article on gretchenrubin.com and found it to be exactly what I’m trying to say to everyone I see reading, watching and talking about stressful, harmful or angry-filled news! While reading it, I knew I had to share it with as many people as I can! Because, sometimes, we need to listen the same thing from other sources, so that what we hear sticks in our brains! Here it is:

“Potato-chip news” is news that’s repetitive, requires little effort to absorb, and is consumable in massive quantities: true crime, natural disasters, political punditry, celebrity gossip, sports gossip, or endless photographs of beautiful houses, food, or clothes. We all have a duty to be educated citizens, but potato-chip news provides endless commentary, speculation, and images, rather than fresh facts or sophisticated analysis, and information is usually sensationalized.

Most people enjoy potato-chips news from time to time—to track a presidential election or the Oscars. However, some are particularly drawn to material that makes them feel shocked, frightened, insecure, or indignant, and that’s what potato-chip news often provides.

Often, constant exposure to potato-chip news causes a kind of distress that can inflame bad habits—in the people are most drawn to it.

The subject of potato-chip news came up when I was giving a talk, and one audience member asked: “I’m absolutely one of those people who’s attracted to potato-chip news. What they call ‘disaster porn.’ I know it’s not good for me, but somehow I always watch. Plus I do think it’s important to be an informed citizen of the world.”

“Try this,” I suggested. “Get information from written sources. Seeing distressing visual images on TV hits people a lot harder than reading about it—also, you’re more likely to watch three hours of TV coverage than to read about a subject for three hours, and written news tends to be more informative, anyway. Or decide to watch for a limited time, like ‘I’m going to watch for thirty minutes to find out what’s happening, then I’ll turn it off until tomorrow.’”

Potato-chip news has two major downsides: it can take up a lot of time, and the bigger problem, from a habits perspective, is that some people feel overwhelmed and upset, and then they indulge in bad habits to try to make themselves feel better.

It’s stress, but really, it’s a vicarious, voluntary stress.  Spending hours stressed out in front of the TV isn’t the same as volunteering or donating. Feeling a high level of personal distress makes people feel agitated and emotionally drained, to the point that they lack the energy or detachment to help—or the energy to manage themselves.

For more of this post go to : http://bit.ly/1hSVdvA

Have a great gossip-free day, filled with meaningful conversations! 

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4 thoughts on “Do you read “potato-chip news”?

  1. Thank You so much for sharing this!! It’s true, it’s important to be educated on what’s going on around us but some news really is just mindless & life-draining. News media so often mostly just magnifies and focuses on the bad in the world. I have seen a couple of online sources showing the good though. We need more news media sources celebrating, Acknowledging, and broadcasting the good!!

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