I’ve worked in and around the news business for nearly 30 years. Sometimes news is “good,” but so often, it’s “bad.” Murder, financial crises, abuse, tornadoes, unemployment, robbery, hurricanes, danger, death – so much of what gets reported is the bad side of society. In journalism school I was taught, “If it bleeds, it leads” and, “Dog bites man isn’t news, but man bites dog? Now that is news!”
The benefit of watching just 30–45 minutes of news each day (like most consumers) is you hear the bad, and a little good, and then go about your life. You hear the highlights. You get the latest. Then you go to work, play with your kids, and enjoy your friends.
The problem with working in the news business is you are inundated with the stories nonstop for 8-10 hours each day. I’ve gotten pretty good at tuning it out. I can focus on my “good” sunshine weather and not really listen to the “bad” news I’m hearing through the speakers.
Right now, with our current stay-at-home situation thanks to the coronavirus, many people are consuming news like me, 8-10 hours a day. It’s a lot, especially if you haven’t learned how to tune it out or turn it off or focus on other things. Too many are paralyzed with fear when it’s the only thing absorbed.
How do you stay positive?
This morning someone asked my advice on staying positive when so many “bad things” are happening around us. My answer came quickly and easily because I have given it a lot of thought (along with trial and error) in my career. It’s not just the current global pandemic we’re faced with now. “Bad things” happen in life all the time: cancer, death, sickness, divorce, pain, addiction, anxiety, depression, I could go on and on. Life isn’t happy and carefree all the time.
You know that. I know that.
Because people only see me on TV seemingly upbeat and “happy” they tend to assume I’m always positive and always happy.
But I’m just like you.
I can be rather negative, and I’m definitely not always happy.
Happiness is a choice.
Positivity is a choice.
Optimism is a choice.
Your mood and what you put out into the universe is a choice you make. I believe that with all my heart because I’ve lived it. It’s not something that comes naturally. We can’t control our circumstances. We can only control our reaction and response to circumstances.
You can’t control the way other people treat you. You can only control your response to it.
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to focus only on what is in my control.
When it comes to the coronavirus, I can control:
- Washing my hands
- Sanitizing and disinfecting my home and workspace
- Isolating myself and my family from others
- Staying home except for essential trips (for work or food)
- Taking breaks from the constant influx of news
The second part of that idea is to let go of what is not in my control.
When it comes to COVID-19, I cannot control:
- The response of my President, Congressmen, Senators or Governor
- Divisive and negative social media posts from my “friends”
- People not practicing social distancing
- The number of coronavirus tests available
- People mixing up “opinion” with true journalism
If you worry about this list of things out of your control, it only adds to your anxiety and stress.
Focusing on things I actually can control, helps me feel more…. in control.
That helps me feel positive, more optimistic and ultimately, more happy.
I love the old adage about worry:
“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”
We are living in unprecedented times and many people are scared, but remember that most of what you read in the news is stuff you can’t control.
Stop spending so much time and energy worrying about it!
Stop spending so much time reading, listening, and soaking it in.
Stop reacting with negativity and anger.
Let it go.
Focus on what you can do for yourself and your family (and your business).
Step away from the TV and the computer. Get the highlights. Stay informed.
Then breathe… and live!
Don’t spend hours choosing to put yourself in a heightened state of fear or panic.
Get the news headlines. Listen to your state’s briefing. Catch the weather (of course!) and then step back. Turn it off. Stop worrying about those spring breakers who aren’t doing their part. Stop sharing fake news stories that just add to the world’s fear and concern.
A friend reminded me recently that every situation (bad or good) has a beginning, middle, and end. Healthy fear helps us prepare for a situation. Once we’ve done that, let go of the fear. If you don’t, it turns into anxiety, wastes your energy, and robs you of peace.
Make the choice to stay healthy and not live in fear.
Change your mindset.
Choose to focus on what you can control.
Let go of what you can’t.