Ignore the News

Something I planned to touch on later, in part two (or three) of my Behind the Curtain series, but that seems very apropos to today, the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, is one of my primary rules for maintaining my sanity: ignore the news.

I used to be a news junkie. If something exciting happened anywhere in the world, I knew everything about it, and followed it minute by minute. Unfortunately, the most exciting events are always disasters: terrorism, mass murders, and natural disasters. I was living in a constant adrenaline-high as my eyes shifted from one breaking news story to another. Over and over, every single daym there was something terrible happening somewhere in the world, and I live in a constant state of excitement and tension because of it.

But then one day I stopped to consider something: did I actually know anyone who’d ever been a victim of a terrorist attack, or involved a mass murder? Not that I could think of. How many of these horrific events I was watching so intently were actually happening close enough to me that they’d directly impact my day to life? Not many.

And then I realized something: because of my constant overexposure to horrific events that were happening all around the world, I subconsciously believed that my risk of being involved in something was infinitely higher than it actually was.

Yes, there are murders every day. But, if I only paid attention to the ones within fifty miles of my house, there might not be one every five years. That’s something to rightly get upset about.

Someone once said, “A single death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic,” and that’s absolutely true. A million dead in Iraq vs. a four year old who drowned in the pool down the street? Which is worse?

Don’t let an overexposure to news drive you to two extremes: a desensitization to horror and terror that the outside world is worse than it really is.

To be continued.

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