I am a news junkie, married to a news junkie. Every morning each of us reads our favorite newspapers online, then we turn on television news for as long as we can stand it and later in the day repeat as needed—which is often. In the past month we have been traveling and often out of the reach of the internet, television and sometimes cell phone service. Though at times I felt as if I were going through withdrawal, for the most part I enjoyed detoxifying.
That leads to the question: which is better—keeping up with the news or avoiding it. And the answer, as is true for most things, is that moderation is likely the best approach. As human beings, our survival depends on finding rewards and avoiding harm, according to Loretta Breuning, author of Habits of a Happy Brain. Therefore, our brains are predisposed to detect threats and thus either avoid or be prepared to deal with potential harm. Beyond that, there are individual differences: some people can take in distressing news and maintain their equilibrium; others become upset to the point of illness.
Since returning from time away from the news, I have read and watched less of it. I am still well informed but feel better for making the change. My passage from a lot to not-so-much news has been eased by the World Cup Soccer Games, which have been a wonderful diversion and explain, in part, why love of sports brings people together. It was thrilling to see Croatia win today and to see the players hugging their Danish opponents afterwards. And now: Go Mexico!!!