Americans are driving themselves crazy — literally making themselves stressed to the point of mental meltdown. The sad part of it is, its mostly self-inflicted stress and anxiety. The good news is, we can stop it anytime we want.
So just how are Americans making themselves frazzled and stressed? By the news, of course! We have become a nation obsessed with news and most particularly, politically-centric news. We’ve got folks consuming news 24 x 7 — people are consumed with watching, reading and listening to the news on TV, the internet, the newspaper.
Political news is the big part of the problem. Think about it this way: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and a host of other never-ending news channels, all need to fill the airwaves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When we once had a normal news cycle of 12pm, 5pm, 11pm, we now have networks who need to keep the lights on all the time. So, what better way to do that, than to latch onto every “story,” no matter how minor, and turn it into a major “breaking news alert.” And of course, the world of politics is an endless source of ‘news.’ The problem is, its become apparent that the news media will try to spin any tidbit of news into more than it really is…which brings in viewers and thus, fills their coffers.
Its Our Own Fault
Since the news media is spinning everything into a ‘story,’ the political parties have to respond. If CNN runs something critical of Republicans, the Republican party machine goes into action and spins it back their way. If Fox news airs something critical of Democrats, then they do the same in response. It’s a vicious cycle of dysfunction. Who am I kidding…it’s not just dysfunctional…it’s insanity. But the American people, now successfully turned into opposing teams (thanks to the political parties), come roaring in and turn on each other over what in truth, was probably not even a real news story to begin with, but was just hyped up hearsay.
No one makes us consume news so much. No one makes us hate and vilify each other over politics. No one is forcing us to sit glued to a news site or program all day and night. You can bet that if we started tuning-out, these greedy news organizations would have a meltdown of their own.
Here is a piece from an article on Bloomberg that is really worth the read:
Freaked Out Americans Desperately Seek to Escape the News, by Claire Suddath
Last fall, the American Psychological Association found that almost two-thirds of Americans listed “the state of the nation” as their primary source of stress, above both money and work. More than half believed that America was at its lowest point in history. Almost 70 percent of all Americans feel a sense of “news fatigue,” according to the Pew Research Center. The nation’s emotional exhaustion even makes an appearance in a recent Enterprise Rental Car survey: When the company surveyed more than 1,100 Americans about their summer travel plans, the top three reasons given for traveling were stress, the news and the political climate.
“Just this morning I had a guy come in who is so distracted by the news that he can’t get his work done,” said Jonathan Alpert, a New York psychologist. “The levels of anxiety and stress I’m seeing are profound.”
– read the entire article here.
This mass hysteria is our own doing. Yes, we do know that foreign agitators are going online and “stirring the pot.” This is a fact and some of these unsavory instigators have admitted they post false and hysterical news and comments…all to divide the country. But, we’re letting them succeed. We’re letting the greedy news media and planted troublemakers divide and distract us. We have to stop this mad cycle of chaos, because it is doing serious damage to our unity as a nation.
How do we stop it?
- If your life is all-consumed with politics, then something is wrong or missing in your life. Sorry, but that’s most likely the case.
- Let go of the “winner-takes-all” us vs. them mind-set. Yes, people on either side of the political spectrum have differing views. So? That has always been the case. What has happened to compromise and civility?
- Reject the hysteria. The news media is creating and spreading hysteria. Shut them out — turn them off. Avoid consuming so much news. Find one, unbiased, reliable, fair-minded source and stick to that — preferably, a print source, since TV and internet news is the biggest threat to our sanity and…safety as a nation.
- Don’t let the politicians control you. Republicans are not out to ruin the country, nor are Democrats. Likewise, neither party will ever ‘save the country.’ because only we the people can and will do that. There was a time in which more politicians cared about the country and about doing good for the many. Today, most are only concerned with themselves, so their motives are far from noble and this is evident in the great divide they have helped to create.
- You can’t say “I love this country” and then act contrary to every founding principle this nation was built upon — fairness, rights to one’s own opinions and, a political system that is purposely designed with checks and balances. And those checks and balances can only come from a dynamic, diverse political system.
- Be civil and positive. Once we make the decision to be more positive people, civility and courtesy are a natural outcome. Focus on the good in life and in people. Try to treat them as you’d want them to treat you. Show kindness and an open mind and in turn, they will do the same for you. We’ve always had differing religious and political views and those differences have not weakened America, but rather, they helped propel us to the forefront of the world.
Consider this excerpt from a well-timed, very apropos op-ed piece entitled, ‘Partisan identity is becoming a justification for discrimination’:
“It’s not merely that lifestyles are being politicized, but that politics is becoming a lifestyle.
Partisans are convinced that the answer to our woes lies in total victory over the other. This is disastrous, because the embrace of partisan identity exacerbates the problem, and because our government was never designed to fill the holes in our souls.’
Read the entire article here.