Timothy travels the U.S. full-time with only a small backpack and a suitcase. He spends his evenings writing and filming Youtube videos.
Could the Evening News Be Bad for Your Health?
Watching the news in the evening is just one of those things that most of us do without really thinking about it. 7:30 rolls around, we plop down on the couch and turn on the news to see what's going on in the world. But did you know that these nightly news sessions could be killing you?
Now, I want to explain from the beginning that I am not talking about news in general. Instead, I am talking about the type of news that we receive in this day and age. I am talking about news that comes in the form of television programming . . . news that has an agenda.
My father told me years ago that all television has an agenda. Every show has something that it either wants you to do or wants you to feel. Every single episode of every television show you have ever watched has been trying to influence you in some way. The news is no different.
The problem with the news is that it isn't just a collection of all the latest stories from around the city, country, or world. It's a collection of the latest news stories from a certain area that someone else has decided are relevant. And the problem we face as the viewer is that we have no control over who that person is or the stories that person picks.
So, we can, and usually do, end up with a skewed perception of the world because we are seeing it through the lens of whatever news outlet we choose to watch. Now most of us usually find a news outlet that slants the news in a direction we find preferable to others but this doesn't change the fact that it's still a skewed view.
The News and Media Tend to Be Biased
That's one of my major issues with the news: bias. And while it's something to think about, it's not why I say watching the nightly news can be bad for your health. The reason why I think watching the news on a regular basis can harm you stems from one of the other traits that almost all television news shows share. Almost all of them strive to instill fear in the viewer.
Now some of you won't believe this but if you bear with me for a little bit, I will prove it to you. Let's start by asking this question: Why is it that the majority of news coverage every night is negative? It's always about murders, traffic accidents, terrorism, war, thefts, and the list goes on and on and on. For almost the full length of the program the bad news just keeps rolling in, then near the end they might have a few lighthearted good stories to keep the viewer from getting totally depressed.
Why do you think this is? Now, I'm not denying that bad things happen in the world on a daily basis. But don't good things happen too? In fact, I believe that WAY more good things happen in the world in a 24 hour period than bad things. Couldn't the news report on these good things 90% of the time and leave the bad for the last 10% of the show?
You've probably never looked at it that way. I know I never did until recently. I was so used to the news being almost entirely negative that I never even realized that it didn't have to be that way. In my mind news equaled negativity. But once my eyes were opened the question quickly popped in my head: Why is the news so negative?
Is the Purpose of the News to Keep Us Fearful?
The answer is simple: The purpose of most news shows is to keep you fearful. That's the agenda. The viewers are purposely fed a diet of negativity to keep them in fear of the world around them. But why?
Well it all comes down to control. If you can manipulate someone's emotions then you can make them act the way you want them to act. And fear is one of the most powerful human emotions, manipulate that and the masses become puppets in your hands.
The #1 thing fear does is that it keeps people watching the new. If you watch a news story tonight and it scares you, you can bet that you'll tune in tomorrow night to see if there are any new developments. Repeat viewers are good for ratings. Good ratings are good for business. See where this is going?
Most news programs will even advertise negative news during others show and then say: 'Tune in tonight at 6:30 for more developments'. Do you think they are teasing you with this bad news because they are worried about you and want you to watch so you'll be abreast of the situation? No, they are doing it for ratings. People are far more likely to tune in to watch bad news than they are good news. Why? Because the prospect of bad news scares them.
Bottom line: Fear makes people look for a solution. The news pretends to offer solutions but really only dishes out more fear. Which in turn makes people watch even more. It's a vicious cycle that's been going on night after night for years.
Fear and Negativity Are Not Good for Your Health
All this fear is not healthy. Being exposed to negativity on the news night after night can affect your mood, and even worse put large amounts of stress and strain on your mind and body. And we all know that stress is so bad for you that it can even kill you in the right circumstances.
Now I'm not saying that watching the news every night is going to cause you to stroke out or have a heart attack. What I am saying is that the stress it causes can most certainly piggyback on whatever health issues you may already have and cause them to worsen.
There have been countless scientific studies done on the effects of stress on the body and mind. And none of them have ever found any positive side effects from being subjected to stress on a regular basis. Now just think about how your body and brain must feel since you've been subjecting it to hours of negative news every night for years. Can you imagine the harm you have already done to yourself?
I recently took some time and thought about the effect the news was having on my life. I realized that it was stressing me out and causing me to be fearful of the people around me. I decided then and there to stop watching the news on a regular basis and since then I have stopped watching the news period.
The only time I will watch the news is if there is a story that directly pertains to me, like say a hurricane or a fire in my area. Other than that I'd rather stay ignorant to what's going on in the world. And I can say that it has made a difference in my life. I am happier, less stressed, and the world doesn't scare me anymore. I see way more of the good in people and the world around me than I used to.
I no longer feel the need to tune into a cesspool of negative thoughts every night, and when I do find out about current events I get to look at them from my own viewpoint, not from someone else's skewed view. If you don't believe what I've said in this article, then I challenge you to stop watching the news for a week or two. It might be hard to do at first, but try and find something else to do every evening.
Watch something else on TV, take a walk, talk to your family. Anything but watch the news. I promise you that you will eventually see a change in your thinking, stress level, and overall happiness. And even if by some strange chance I'm wrong and you notice no changes in yourself, what really will you have lost? Trust me your favorite news program will be just as bad, just as negative, and just as full of fear-mongering when you go back to watching it...
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Ro Austin on March 31, 2019:
This article is brilliant. I have been considering breaking this detrimental habit but haven't been able to do it even though I know how bad it is. Your article and video have given me the inspiration to try. Thank you.