With the constant disturbing headlines and ever-playing news programs on the TV, computer, and phone, we are inundated with harrowing events on a daily basis. From leaders who induce fear and hate rather than a sense of calm and unity, to terrorist events and violent crimes, a day does not go by without being bombarded with distressing news. Make no mistake, this frames our thoughts and, even worse, it pollutes our children’s impressionable minds. Parenting — and living, for that matter — in 2018 necessitates putting a stop to the constant bombardment of information we take in.
Here’s how to do it:
Don’t watch the news: Remember when we were young and the news was on at 5 and 11 pm? We didn’t have a never-ending news cycle or obnoxious neon banners signaling “Breaking News” every five minutes. Most of us weren’t awake for the 11 pm news … and we didn’t need to be, because we were kids.
Turn your phone alerts off: Unless you need keep abreast of up-to-the minute news stories for work, none of us need to know every single event as it happens. Technology has given us the ability to know more than we need to, where everyone is a writer, and everyone can make his or her own news. More often than not, the “breaking news” is not anything we need to know at all.
Facebook: Do you really need it? If you have extended family around the country and like keeping up with them, it’s great. If you belong to useful groups and enjoy the banter, I’m all for that. But, if you’re like me and most of your feed is comprised of inflated hyperbole, you might want to get rid of your account, or at least take a break from it. You’ll gain a new sense of calm, not to mention an extra half hour or more a day.
We can’t simply cut out the media hype altogether. Unfortunately, there will always be large-scale, tragic events that we will hear no matter what we do, so, while we are putting the kibosh on the chaos we allow into out lives, we also need to consciously implement soothing practices into our daily routine.
Here are some quick start ideas:
At-home acupuncture: Acupuncture has been known to help heal and foster relaxation simultaneously. Yet, we can’t always get to an acupuncture treatment, so here’s the next-best thing: purchase an acupuncture mat and set aside time each day to relax and let go.
Tea: Chamomile is well-known to soothe and relax, but your favorite flavor will also suffice. In other words, whatever calms you, works.
Music: Trade in the loud voice from the local TV anchor blaring from your flatscreen for calm and soothing tunes … or fast and lively dance music. Depending on your mood and preference, music can foster positive emotions. Just think of how you feel when you hear Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.”
Enjoy the silence: Depeche Mode really had it right all those years ago. Perhaps the only thing better than music to induce peacefulness is silence. You don’t really need to always have a sound constantly playing at home. There is nothing more peaceful than sitting and reading a book in a fully quiet room.
Danielle Sullivan is a writer living in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @Deewrite.