No News is Good For You


TLDR: News is mostly negative, and increasingly visual and shocking. Your brain is wired to prioritize threat detections, news outlets (including social media) take advantage of that to gain your attention. Consuming it regularly adds to your stress but not, really, to your ability to do anything about the perceived threats and is bad for your mental health.

Ken’s Take:

I’m largely news free for about 2 weeks now. I’ve been TV news/ Radio news free for years. Most of my “news” came from accidental osmosis in friend’s social media timelines and as I searched for things to read that were actually interesting to me.

The basic problem with “news” is that it’s not really correct information – it’s designed to grab your attention, to wrap around the ad in the timeline or somewhere below the clickbait title. In many cases it’s flat out propaganda designed to organize you as the political class wants.

Hop off. You aren’t really “informed” by reading it. You are definitely stressed by it. And what can you do about what you read? Absolutely nothing. Which adds to the stress.

Put it down. Don’t click.

Instead… Read blogs that interest you. Listen to podcasts. Read books. Take the dog for a walk. Talk to whoever is in the room, or across the table, from you.

Take back your attention.


TLDR: Subtract 5 Simple Things to Become Happier

TLDR: Happiness is not a destination, but a process. First _SUBTRACT_ things that cause you to be unhappy.

Five simple low hanging fruit are:
1. cut out negative information (i.e. the news!),
2. get rid of the 20% of things causing 80% of the unhappiness
3. subtract negative people from your life
4. don’t try and “prove” yourself
5. don’t attach happiness to goals or possessions.

Ken’s Take:

The last one is tough – the “hedonistic treadmill” takes your gains and makes them your new normal, making you revert to your base unhappiness. It’s easy for me to say “hop off” – to a lot of people I’m pretty darn rich with lots of “stuff”. All I’ll say is that it isn’t nearly what I “could” have, and I certainly don’t care what car or house other people have.

Negative people… this is tough because sometimes they are in _your_ family! Hmmmm… honor your responsibilities, be passively brutal to all the others. Don’t fight, just don’t engage, or spend time around them.

As an aside, I write the TLDR section (Too Long Didn’t Read) to make sure I understand what the author wrote by explaining it as simply and in as little of my own bias as I can manage.

Ken’s Take: is my spin on it. Sometimes that’s enough – if it intrigues you read the article, and feel free to drop a comment on the article, the TLDR, or Ken’s Take.