Mass shootings, police brutality and cop-killers, election insanity, Brexit, racism, environmental degradation, terrorism and sexism. No wonder we’re feeling an excess of anxiety about the future when our world seems about to implode.
In the midst of all of this, I try to remember (and do) two things:
- Choose the Media, Don’t let the Media Choose You. It’s worth reminding ourselves that the news cycle thrives on doom and gloom, sensationalism and fear-mongering. So without closing our eyes to injustice where it exists, it’s important now more than ever to make conscious choices about and being mindful of the kind of media we’re consuming and what effect it is having on us.
- You’ll Feel Better if You DO Something. Instead of cowering at home because we’re too afraid to go outside, we can actually change our behavior from one of reaction to action and thus become engaged in a positive way. We can do something about what is bothering us – in other words, “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Reality is Bleak, or is it?
People have a greater distrust of media than ever before. And no wonder, when profit trumps journalistic excellence, and we’re served up a skewed version of reality, being a conscious media consumer is not only important but crucial:
“Since September 11, 2001, fewer than 100 people have died in jihadist attacks in the United States, according to the New America Foundation, a think tank. That’s about the same number of deaths from motor-vehicle accidents every day. But terrorism feels menacing and personal in a way that even a six-car-pileup does not, and so it receives disproportionate coverage. In December 2015, Americans named terrorism the country’s most important problem.” (“Why News Junkies are so Glum About Politics, Economics, and Everything Else,” The Atlantic, July 26, 2016)
Not only do the facts get twisted but positive stories are often underreported because of the belief that audiences and readers are hard-wired for negativity…or “drama,” as stated by David Simon, creator of The Wire and former reporter for the Baltimore Sun said in a recent NY Magazine article titled “The Case Against the Media, By the Media.”
So making conscious choices about what we watch, read or listen to often means seeking out the stories behind the news. My goal is to find stories outside of the echo chamber that open the mind and teach us how better to understand someone else, as opposed to perpetuating “the other” mentality.
Most of all, we can try to make a conscious choice to find balance through uplifting stories that can educate, entertain and inspire us in a way the negative ones do not. Why? They hold the power to transform our consciousness, revealing new ways to deal with our most pressing problems instead of stifling them in entrenched ways of thinking.
Action: Breaking the Negativity Trap
“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.”
— Khalil Gibran
As long as it involves a verb, getting active can take many different forms.
When it comes to tackling the big issues we care about, taking action can mean volunteering in our own backyard, canvassing votes in a swing state, writing to a Congressperson, or simply being a good parent or role model.
There are individual, personal actions, like taking up a practice like meditation or yoga. For others, skydiving or snowboarding is a spiritual experience and even just taking a walk in nature provides a sense of well-being and harmony that aligns us with ourselves and our planet. As long as we bring joy and commitment to it, any action taken will cause a positive effect for ourselves and those around us.
So before you let the weight of it all bring you down, get up and do something, anything, and the world will literally become a better place.
What do you do to seek out conscious media or actions? We’d love to hear from you.
Lorraine Hess is Head of Acquisitions for Conscious Good. She was VP Programming & Acquisitions, LINKTV; Co-Producer, Global Spirit; Co-Producer, Ethics for the New Millennium; Series Producer/Writer, Ligthbridge/PBS; Consultant, Teaching Channel; and Head of Programming, IVN Entertainment. Lorraine has a lifelong passion for personal fitness and self-development practices such as shamanism, intuitive healing and depth hypnosis with a particular emphasis on how they intersect with media.