Do you find yourself thinking about things that are outside your sphere of influence, problems that you would never be able to resolve or control?
Welcome to the era of information and complexity.
This mental noise is nourished by whatever you let your five senses come into contact with, especially your vision and hearing.
A single weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average Englishman would have come into contact with over their entire lifetime in the 17th century.*
Having graduated in journalism, I know that the type of content that in the past has proven to generate the best ratings is what tends to be given more airtime in newspapers, on news shows, etc. … And, what normally attracts the most attention are news items that provoke the most extreme emotions, be they ones of euphoria, passion, pain or suffering.
This isn’t to say that much of the news media is not important as a source of information. Nevertheless, excess news – either in terms of how much you share or how frequently you access it - could be intoxicating your thoughts in a way that makes it almost impossible to have good and productive thoughts and cultivate a growth mindset. **
For this reason, I am making an appeal to your lucidity: learn to be more critical when it comes to selecting the news you choose to access, or deciding how many times you read or watch news reports on the same issue; reports which often don’t add anything new, other than more unnecessary tension and anxiety.
You are free to watch or read whatever you like, my aim is just to open your mind and enable you to notice that, when you get carried away by the discourse of remaining “well-informed,” you might be falling into a trap, exposing yourself to effects that are damaging to your mental health.
My suggestion in this respect is that you establish which questions you wish to answer, so that you may seek the direct answers to those questions, either from trustworthy news sources or from people who you trust as a direct source of information, for example professionals with specialised knowledge in the area.
If you work in market analysis and it is part of your job to accompany developments in the news and current affairs throughout the day, even in this case, I’d recommend knowing the questions you want answered. If you feel failing to accompany hourly updates on the political and economic and, especially relevant today, public health stages is detrimental to your work, then by all means, continue to do so, but seek to pay more attention to the credibility and authority of the source, and eliminate excessive repetition of the same information.
In this way, we can actively reduce the emotional overload generated due to excess information and sordid details that will be useless to our decision making. And, of course, we should run away from Fake News. Always confirm any information received via one channel via another which you trust, or even with a professional who is an authority on the subject. And finally, avoid acting or making decisions hastily.
Do you want to make better decisions, more quickly and more assertively? Train meditation in order to stimulate your intuition and insights, and act because you know it’s the best thing to do, not because someone or some piece of information justifies your decision or behaviour.
*Reference: Documentary “Transtime” 2015.
** Concept by Carol Dweck in the book Mindset