Should You Consider a News Fast?

I don't know about you, but the overwhelming amount of negative and increasingly partisan news over the last few months has become enervating. The costs of keeping up with the news are finally overwhelming the benefits.

I've had a serious news addiction. For the last few years I've spent at least two hours a day reading the New York Times, Huffington Post, Politico and many others. Then watching the Rachel Maddow show every night.

The more news I consumed, the more fatigued I became. Fatigue that lead to increasing depression. Fretting about the state of the world that I have no control over.

So I've elected to go on a news fast, or at least a partial news fast.

I agree that to be a responsible citizen it is important to be informed about the key issues of the day. For example, you shouldn't vote unless you know what you are voting about. And it is important to actively engage in political, health care or climate change issues.

But being responsibly informed doesn't mean to give into the addiction of reading the constant barrage of articles dwelling on variants of the same destructive themes.

Now, instead of two hours plus wallowing in the negative, I give myself a maximum of thirty minutes to look at headlines, including the opinion pages, and read only those articles that I believe are necessary for me to be an informed citizen.

And I'll continue to financially support organizations who are engaging in the day-to-day battle for political freedom without discrimination, health care for all and a healthy environment. 

But I'll no longer give in to the impulse to read obsessively. I only have limited time in my life and so many other positive things I want to focus on, that this is a sacrifice I'm willing to make without hesitation. I'm already feeling the emotional benefits.

An odd corollary is encouraging family and friends to not bring up negative news items. This is an ongoing challenge.

Given current trends, I suspect I'll be on the fast for at least the next four years.