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June is an artist, writer, speaker and advocate for self-empowerment. In 1999, illness overcame her life. During her unwavering search for physical wellness, she stumbled upon the subject of emotional wellness. This discovery led her down a path of self-empowerment for which she will always be grateful. It opened the doorway to her heart. As a result, she has spent a great deal of the past fourteen years focusing on personal growth and self-help. June’s mission is to share what she has learned with other people to support them on their wondrous and sometimes rocky journey. She conducts workshops, writes and paints to share her passion and wisdom with her fellow advocates for self-empowerment.

News, Negativity and Your Emotional Health

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
By June Blunk

In July of 1969, the world watched with bated breath as Neil Armstrong made his historic, heroic walk on the moon. He was cheered on by millions and is still honored today for the steps he took in the Sea of Tranquility that summer day. A man on the moon—the news brought history to our doorsteps. People everywhere felt emotions from fear to wonder as they tuned in that glorious day.

The news brought us an extraordinary moment that moved us from the center of our being. People were energized and inspired. Emotions soared as the masses were informed and engaged. A story of triumph and the fruits of commitment rose forth in minds across the globe. People felt a personal connection to victory and the rewards of hard work, courage and determination.

The news engaged us and revealed a remarkable story. Unfortunately, each and everyday horrifying stories of war, crime and terror reach our doorsteps. Stories of deceit and political wrong-doing are part of the standard, daily news landscape. Frequently, the news is depressing, uninspiring and far from glorious. It can leave us feeling helpless, out-of-control, angry and jilted. As a result, negative emotions easily rise potentially creating a hostile mindset.

Depending on the type of story, we may hop on an emotional roller coaster with twist and turns that may leave us ultimately experiencing all kinds of emotional distress. Who we are—our fears, self-judgment, desires and who we yearn to be are woven throughout our reactions. Even more so, our response reveals where we have been and how we feel deep inside.

The news serves as a distinct platform where a composition of events and situations, people, places and things are revealed to those that are interested and tuned in. The news neatly ties up the bits and pieces of a story and we are there to absorb all the details and experience the emotions that rise from our core, both the positive and the negative. The news is influential and its influence on your emotional state is determined by you.

Have you ever considered the possibility that the news could be instrumental in improving your emotional health? Or, that it could facilitate the pursuit of emotional balance and wellness? Did you know that the news could be a factor in producing unnecessary anxiety and stress as well?

The news, negativity and your emotional health are linked together and there are several processes that you can easily put into place that will greatly benefit your emotional state. Emotions are very influential and can be overwhelming at times. Your emotions reinforce your feelings, thoughts and actions. Your responses to the news media can be used as a gauge to provide insight into your emotional makeup and build self-awareness, both of which are crucial to creating a happier and more peaceful lifestyle. Your observations can provide you with solutions that will enable you to create emotional wellness.

As you already realize, the news frequently has an emotional impact, but what you may not recognize is that it can be detrimental to your emotional health. It can perpetuate your anxiety and stress if your negative reactions are left unaddressed and misunderstood.

On the other hand, you can benefit from your negative responses, which are very meaningful and helpful when observed and dealt with appropriately:

• Your negative reactions, including your strong opinions, reveal your emotional state. These reactions in particular will help you become aware of your inner anxiety and stress.

• Your negative expressions and feelings about the news reveal who you are emotionally and your past life experiences. Recognizing the connections to your past will enable you to shift to a more constructive mindset.

In essence, your reactions to the news tell a deeper story, one about you and your emotional makeup. Depending on your responses, and your emotional intelligence level—your ability to understand and be aware of your emotions and their deeper meaning—the news media could be negatively impacting your emotional state without you realizing it.

The good news, the news media can guide you toward emotional resolution. You have all the resources required to shift your responses and move away from experiencing unnecessary negativity. The negativity that surfaces when you react to the news media no longer has to be a part of your life. The many benefits of this process include:

• When you start to become more cognizant of yourself, you will learn a tremendous amount about yourself emotionally based on your responses to the news.

• The insight and self-awareness you discover will help your recover from negative issues that you may have buried or may not realize exist.

• Also, you will learn to identify when you are merely reinforcing negativity by allowing what you perceive as bad news to dictate how you feel, instead of living with a more constructive position in mind.

• As your consciousness is raised, you may modify your news viewing, reading and listening habits to more constructive ones.

Think about it:

How do you feel after watching, reading or listening to the news?

What thoughts run through your mind?

Long after the newscast is over, what news weighs heavily on your mind?

Science has proven the ill affects of stress and anxiety both for the body as well as the mind. Heart disease and many other diseases worsen with stress. Let’s face it, emotional distress is very harmful to our health and robs us of a peaceful existence—no matter what the circumstances. Keep this in mind next time you react negatively to the news and ask yourself the following questions:

• Is what I’m feeling right now beneficial to my emotional health and well-being?

• Will these thoughts help me in any way?

The Real Story: You—how you feel about the news is all about you, not necessarily the news. The Sad Story: You—unintentionally, you relive your negativity repeatedly and unnecessarily.

News is a form of story telling and it evokes an emotional response from its readers, watchers and listeners. People look to the news to find out what is going on in the world, obtain information on all types of subject matter, and keep abreast of trends and issues of concern. Some view the news as an essential requirement of daily life and a staple of the responsible citizen.

Consumers of the news—even you—may be negatively impacted by the news. What you watch, read or listen to may, at times, be destructive to your emotional state. The news may be reinforcing your negative feelings, thoughts and emotions, which can be harmful in many ways. In effect, the news evokes a response and the response defines the emotional makeup of the consumer.

• The type of reaction a consumer has regarding the news tells a story about the consumer’s emotions—the historic impact life has had on him or her personally.

• The consumer’s life experiences are the reason for his or her reactions and overreactions.

• A consumer who becomes angry or fearful is actually displaying nothing more than his or her own feelings of anger and fear.

• A consumer who is sad and hopeless is actually showing nothing more than his or her own feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

Typically, the consumer blames the news for the response that arises; his or her feelings, thoughts, reactions and overreactions. However, more often than not, the opposite is true. Frequently, the consumer’s reaction is not actually caused by the news, it is actually based on past experiences and how the consumer felt about these experiences. Essentially, what rises forth and is perceived as a current emotion is merely a resurfacing, a manifestation of the consumer’s past.

Unbeknownst to the consumer, his or her own personal story is unfolding right before the consumer’s very eyes and the news is simply a trigger for what already exists. Unfortunately, the blame game does little to help the consumer find refuge. Blame allows negativity to flourish and continue its damaging affects.

Our past experiences will easily mislead us emotionally, and will continue to mislead us, until we take full responsibility for our emotional state. Detaching from the past is possible, very powerful and liberating. Nothing can surpass living in the here and now!

Think about it:

What significant meaning is peddled to you—the viewer, reader and listener of television, radio, print and internet news you consume on a regular basis?

What is the purpose of the stories they tell?

Which news anchors, writers and talk radio hosts influence your day?

What is the tone of their reporting and how does it affect you emotionally?

If you generally feel pretty good after consuming the news and take it in stride, you are in a good place with the news. If you are negatively affected, what follows is meant for you…

Three basic steps to assist you in improving your emotional health:

1) Become aware of how the news affects you.

Start noticing your negative emotional responses. A simple acknowledgement will suffice. Acknowledge that a negative reaction is occurring. No excuses—it does not matter if you feel justified or entitled to your negativity.

2) Detach and observe your negative responses.

Take a few deep breaths and induce a calmer state. Allow yourself to adopt the attitude that a response is just a response—nothing else. It is perfectly acceptable for you to respond differently and feel better emotionally. Let go of your negative response. Stop reinforcing your own negativity: It truly is of no value. You do not have anything to prove and letting go of your negativity is far more productive than you realize. Again, no excuses—it does not matter if you feel justified or entitled to your negativity.

3) Change and understand your response.

Respond differently with your emotional health in mind. Remind yourself that your current reaction may not be based on the situation at hand; something far deeper may be going on. Ask yourself what is behind your reaction: What personal story is rising from within?

Be conscious of the fact that you can change your response and it will be beneficial on many levels. Be more accepting and do not take things personally. On some level, you are making a personal connection to the news story. Sure, it could be a sad story or a horrible tragedy and it is normal to feel compassion and experience emotions, but when the emotions linger and are more intense, it is an indication that there is something that needs to be addressed within you. So, again, no excuses—it does not matter if you feel justified or entitled to your negativity.

Another viable option is to change your news media menu. For instance, read only select stories that will keep you emotionally on track. Listen to a different news anchor or talk radio show. Many television and talk radio shows merely reinforce negativity and blame. You should seriously consider tuning into something that would be more constructive. Furthermore, if you feel that something in the world needs to change, don’t get aggravated and angry, be productive and find a way to help the cause. Discovering and implementing solutions is empowering. Living in anger and despair is destructive.

You can be at peace with the world around you. You can make a difference because you are in control of your emotional state—only you can keep yourself from living an emotionally balanced lifestyle. Today, right now, make a positive difference in your life. Take responsibility for your emotional health and use your responses to the news media as a guide. Write a new storyline: You—Shoot for the Moon and Walk in the Sea of Tranquility! I bet the sequel that follows will be even better than you can imagine.

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