Depending on who you ask, we are inundated by anywhere from 10 to 17 times more bad news than good news.
That means over 90% of the news we hear is negative. It can cover everything from the global hunger crisis, to impending weather disrupting plans, to a text about family hardships.
So how do we deal with all the negativity around us? Here are some things we’ve found valuable as we consider what is going on in the world and in our lives.
Talk about it
One of the healthiest things we can do is talk to close friends and family about what is going on. This helps for a few reasons.
First, negative thoughts rolling around in our heads tend to snowball. They get bigger and darker as time progresses, and when they do finally express themselves it can come out in an avalanche.
Being able to talk about it helps keep those emotions at bay better than just bottling it all up.
Secondly, we are given other people to help us walk through problems we are experiencing and few problems can be solved on our own.
Whether it’s eliminating poverty and finding a way to pass the time on a rainy day, it’s almost guaranteed to be more effective when others are on the journey with you. And if they don’t know what you are thinking, how can they know to help?
If all you hear are negative things, then why not just get away from all negative media?
The negativity can come at as in many ways - tv, Facebook, podcasts, news websites - the list could go on quite a while.
Why not just take a few hours, or days, and turn off what’s not essential to your day-to-day and eliminate the negative input for a bit?
There’s an old computer programming term: GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out. If a computer’s programming input was garbage, you can’t expect the output to be a perfectly operating iPhone.
What’s true for computers is true for humans. If we are constantly inputting garbage into our brains, it’s garbage that will come out, which makes the next suggestion more difficult.
There are countless hours of scientific studies and books filled with the benefits of gratitude, but I want to simplify it here for us.
We talked previously about how for every good piece of information we hear there are at least ten negative ones. How about we try to restore that balance a little bit?
We don’t want to dismiss a problem that is happening, we can’t just shut our eyes, jump in the car and pretend like the roads aren’t covered in snow. Nor can we, or should we, pretend like people around the world aren’t suffering and dying in poverty.
But instead, as negative thoughts come to mind, let’s outweigh them with realistic, positive thoughts. Yes, it’s snowing, but look at the beauty. And now you have extra time with the kids, or to knock out that project you’ve been putting off.
Yes, poverty is a real and major issue we are facing in the world today, but we can be thankful to even have the technology to know and do something about it. We can be thankful that more people than ever are working together in a myriad of ways to solve the problem.
As we consider the problems around us, let us be sure to consider the positives surrounding those problems as well.
Spend time in prayer/meditation
And last but not least, many of these problems can feel too heavy for us to bear, even with others supporting us. Thankfully, we have a God who is big enough to take it all, and wants to take it all.
Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you…” Whether you are a Christian or not, it’s likely you’ve heard this verse. This verse isn’t saying that God will solve all our problems, but, like we mentioned talking about the problems previously, God wants to hear us as we tell him about what we face.
Spending time in prayer before God can help bring peace and calm to our ever-running minds.
We can also find this peace and calm through simple meditation. Even just 5 minutes spent putting your focus on something other than the problem can completely change your mindset and perspective.
For wonderful faith-based meditation, we recommend the One Minute Pause app. You can find a variety of meditation durations on Pause, from 1 minute to 10 minutes. All geared towards setting your mind on God.
The Oak meditation and breathing app is another great option. You can set a meditation time in 5 minute increments. You’ll find guided meditation on mindfulness and loving kindness, also guided breathing exercises to help you relax and even fall asleep if you need it.
No matter how you deal with the negativity in our world, let’s make sure it’s in healthy ways. Let’s do it in ways that bring us closer to God and community, not ways that pushes them away.
What are some ways you push back against the negativity in your life?