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Ten Steps to Change Bad News Fear and Loathing to Positive Action

By Dr. Molly Barrow

People are more civilized in nearly every country now than we were in our more brutal past. However, are you having trouble finding good news? Is the world a mess or could there be a different purpose for the plethora of bad news? Someone once said, “Follow the money.” Psychologists and advertisers know that a frightened populous that freezes in dread is unable to switch the channel. Does conflict and atrocity allow stations to sell higher-priced airtime to advertisers on television and radio? Do politicians keep you fearful to maintain control? You might consider these other choices rather than remaining a programmed, captive audience.

1. Six O’clock Shadow of Depression: After you have worked all day do you sit down to a nice meal, turn on the television, internet or radio and listen to loud doomsday hawkers drone on only interrupted briefly by their sponsor. Some nights try listening to your favorite music, eat in peace and talk to your child about virtues like kindness, fairness and compassion.

2. The Consumer Rules: Do you buy products from sponsors of “misleading news sources?” A sponsor is extremely sensitive to consumer complaints. Be sure to tell the sponsor why you are unhappy. Sponsors can influence the networks and other media to reduce suppositions and lies of negative entertainment that masquerades as news and bring back more truthful reporting.

3. Push the Button: Are you flooded with negativity from multiple sources? Take a news break. You will save electricity and possible, your own sanity. Most weekly summaries are sufficient to keep you informed with less sensationalism and more factual information. Your adrenals will appreciate the break from constant stress and drama. Often the same story is repeated to fill the demand for news twenty-four seven?

4. Study History: History often records wars as markers in time, ignoring periods of peace. Is our world in worse shape than the bad ole days of Roman dominance, Crusade slaughters, Russian oppression, WWII, Egyptian slavery or Mongolian wars? The majority of the people are living peacefully at present although typically there is at least one war going on somewhere. Do you think peace is news worthy? Let the media know if you do.

5. Not That Bad for You and Me: Royalty once reserved the good life for themselves. Now many people live full lives with access to education, food and luxuries. Cultures and societies develop unevenly with some areas trailing hundreds of years behind European and American standards. Necessities like food, clean water, medicine and shelter might be easy to provide to suffering families if world leaders united to assist the poor.

6. Act: You may need to work off some frustration by doing more and complaining less. Take a walk with your spouse or pet. Become a loud voice to City Hall, your Senator or your Congressperson. Are you worried about global warming? You could turn in the gas-guzzler for a sipper, plant trees in your neighborhood, start a recycling business, turn soybeans into fuel, change your light bulbs or educate anyone who will listen. Just be part of a good news solution to Earth’s problems.

7. Reality Check: Are most of the people you know nice, helpful and socialized human beings? You can find kind people who offer help and smiles in Nevis, Kenya, India, Costa Rica, Haiti, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Cuba, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Africa and everywhere who are more good than bad. Travelers know this is true all over the world. Yet, even the great United States loses her beauty if led by ugliness, prejudice or religious intolerance. Your view of the world can become sickly skewed from the big business of anxiety designed to keep the majority placated and passive. You could try to have a good conversation with two new people this week who look different from yourself and begin to make the world a friendlier place.

8. Bad Apples: Mental illness, greed and cruelty exist in small percentages throughout all society. Sometimes old enemies become our best friends. We are still learning and we have a long way to go, but certain truths are working - freedom, government by the people, the Bill of Rights, help your neighbor, do only what you want done to you, and peaceful co-existence. The good people far outnumber the bad, so good will likely win, if they stay vigilant. A setback of centuries will occur if the majority loses freedom and fairness because of a few bad apples. Prevention rather than paranoia will help protect communities and increase their safety by following recommendations of authorities, police, fire and public safety.  

9. Are You Sheep or Are You Civilized? Driven, obsessed people with an ax to grind make the big effort to become powerful, political leaders and heads of organizations because – lazily, we let them. A dysfunctional leader may dupe fine and innocent people who then deserve pity for their plight, not hatred. The people need support and assistance to help them get on the right road again. Strong diplomacy and sanctions, rather than cruel shock or immoral awe, will rid countries of tyrannical mistakes. You could make a list of your personal values and think about them on a national and global scale.

10. What? Me Run for Office? If you passively stand by and avoid civic responsibility, then inept, powerful or evil spokespeople could lead you down their wrong path. If you are a wise and virtuous person, consider a run for office in your community, school, church or government and take the path that leads to good news.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Molly Barrow.

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