By far, the best thing I have minimized in my life is how I consume news.
It took some time to break the addiction but I no longer visit crappy news sites – I unfollow consistently negative people on social media and I have trained friends and family around me not to share the latest Trump blunder.
This does not mean I am ignoring the problems.
I realized, during all the talk of fake news and biased reporting that the best way to get good news is to pay for it. News sites that rely on clicks and shares will always lean toward the dramatic. The attention grabbing. The horrifying. A freak show of modern life.
I live a simply. I gave up a higher paying job for more time and a more satisfying life and I have no regrets, but it does mean I can’t fork out $50 a month on various news outlets, so I found a balance that works for me.
National Geographic 3.25 EUR per month. The Economist Espresso Edition (app) 3.29 EUR a month (I would love the full subscription, but it’s out of my price range. Espresso give me the 6 top stories of the day which I find is still pretty good).
BBC – this is mostly good but I always approach it with caution. This morning for example I got a popup saying that some celebrity’s baby was born, and had to remove the ‘Breaking News’ notifications. The Intercept and Podcasts.
This gives me a total of 6.54 EUR a month that I am spending on news, and I hope to be able to spend more in the future with a full Economist subscription as well as Delayed Gratification which practices slow journalism.
By minimizing my feed I get all the information I need, all the information I can act on, without the utterly useless shouting match between left and right, conservative and liberal, blue dress or white dress people clogging up my mental space.
While there may be a sick satisfaction in laughing at the failings of a politician or public figure you dislike, it does not create change and it does not benefit your mental well-being.
One of the most useful things I ever did was a workshop offered by Human Rights Watch on how to verify information. It changed the way I read news, and I think it’s helped me sniff out the bullshit a lot faster so that I don’t waste my time and energy on bad reporting. I strongly encourage people to find a similar workshop or check out one of the many free MOOC’s online.
If you feel weighed down or overwhelmed by the news, try detoxing your news consumption. Talk to friends and family and tell them that although they might find Cofeve funny, the constant political chatter is making you unhappy.
You can be an active and engaged community member without filling your feed and your life with negativity. I still took part in the Woman’s March, March for Science and donate to my favorite charities without spending much mental energy on politicians I dislike. I am still up to date on world events without meme’s crowding my instagram or twitter accounts.
And most importantly, in my day to day life, I am happy.