Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Read less news equals happy

I find there is a direct correlation between daily news consumption and my internal stress levels. Meaning: the more headlines I read (Trump! Russia investigation! Government shutdown! Transgender military ban! The economy! Immigration! Hate crimes! Global warming! Wars! Brexit! Aahh!!) the more I anxious and hopeless I feel. 

Let's face it - most of the news we read is negative. Maybe it's evidence of our natural negativity bias or perhaps we're evolved to react quickly to potential threats. Whatever it is - instinct or vigilance - what if being too informed is bad for our health?

According to the American Psychological Association, 63 percent of Americans say the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. Also consider that 1 in 10 adults checks the news every hour and 20 percent of Americans report constantly monitoring their social media feeds (exposing them to the latest "bad news," whether they like it or not). It's no wonder we're all walking around with a lot of cortisol in our bodies.

In the name of mental health, I conducted an experiment on myself over the holidays: a news blackout for one week. This meant no New York Times, no checking my social media feeds, and no initiating conversation about politics.

You know what happened? I made A LOT more space for things that contribute to my longevity. I got lost in good books. I flipped through my favorite magazines and looked at all the pretty pictures. I went for long walks by myself. I watched Christmas movies and snuggled with my kids. I enjoyed meals, unhurried and uninterrupted. I had deep and meaningful conversations.

At the end of my self-imposed news blackout, I noticed my spirit wasn't as agitated. My soul was calm, like still waters. Even physically, my muscles felt less tense. My shoulders were more relaxed. My digestion was better. I slept through the night. And when I "returned" to the world (you can't stick your head in a hole forever) I had with me that very precious mental commodity: perspective. 

Do you read the news every day? Does it make you feel worried? Maybe taking yourself off the news grid every once in a while would help you, too. Try it, and let me know how it goes!   

How about some good news? (Good News Network)

Monday, January 21, 2019


Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’ 

But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; 

When you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: ‘Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’ 

When you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading ‘white’ and ‘colored’; when your first name becomes ‘nigger,’ your middle name becomes ‘boy’ (however old you are) and your last name becomes ‘John,’ and your wife and mother are never given the respected title ‘Mrs.’

When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’ - then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait."

– Martin Luther King Jr.

How we talk about racism is wrong. (Kottke)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Cardi B on the government shutdown

Preach, Cardi. Preach!

"This sh*t is really f*cking serious, bro. This sh*t is crazy. Our country is in a hell hole right now, all for a f*cking wall."

(I'm DYING over the part where Cardi scolds the critics, "I don't want to hear all you muthaf*ckers talking about, 'Oh but Obama shut down the government for 17 days,' Yeah, b*tch, for health care! So your grandma could check her blood pressure and you b*tches could go check your pussy at the gynecologist with no muthaf*cking problem!")

Thank you, Cardi, for grabbing our attention. You're right. This sh*t is crazy.

How the government shutdown affects the country. (Financial Times)