I admit that, at times, I will wake in the early hours before dawn and start worrying. It begins with a thought about a news story or a problem at work. Gradually the problem grows as I struggle to find a solution. Worry turns to anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. I wonder if I should get out of bed and go downstairs. If I'm lucky perhaps I'll fall back asleep before dawn, wake up groggy and tired, and stumble through the day trying to stay awake.
Paradoxically, as I get older I find there are more things that worry me. You would think, with the majority of a life lived with no serious difficulties, that worries would be fewer. But no, I have to worry about my child AND a grandchild now. The constant flow of news never seems to be good, only about wars, violence, corruption and the tribalism that seems to permeate our country now.
I worry about future generations. Are they prepared for the changing workplace? Manufacturing jobs are disappearing as technology and robotics become cheaper employees. How much schooling will be needed? How far in debt must one go to get the education needed to complete in a more technical workplace?
I realize most of my worries are due to viewing so much information about these problems. Perhaps it would be best to try and balance the troubling negative news with news about good things. While such news may not provide answers to the problems and my worries, maybe it would give my brain a break from stressing out so much.
Turns out there are actually a few places that feature nothing but positive stories and news about good happenings! Sunnyskyz.com features articles about a single mother graduating from Harvard Law School, a boy asking his mom to stop the car so he can help an elderly lady and a service dog who went into labor while waiting for a plane. Goodnewsnetwork.org features a story about a town mayor who invited 100 strangers to his house for dinner. Another tells of a woman just divorced moving into a run-down house and her neighbors fixing it for free.
Zenhabits.net is one of the Top 50 websites in the world and is all about finding simplicity in the midst of chaos. Bittersweetmonthly.com has the following mission statement: "We craft a counter narrative -- one that refuses cynicism, defies apathy, and celebrates the right and good." They list stories of everyday people finding meaning and goodness in their lives. I will bet you cannot read one story on that site without feeling better. Amazingly, giving your brain a rest from "bad news" may allow your subconscious to work out those problems that plague your life.
Worries and fears will always be with us. The bad side of human behavior will always be more "newsworthy" than the good side. Rather than obsess over the things that are not in our control let us focus more on those things that make us laugh a little more, love others a lot more, and maybe see problems from a less hostile perspective.
And, more importantly, maybe I can get a little more sleep.
Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 06/06/2018
Print Headline: Positive news and views