Bad news can be life-saving: A hurricane is spinning itself together in the Atlantic.
Bad news can also be a constant barrage of information overload, which carries emotion and sensationalism. Graham C.L. Davey, Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK, writes that during the past 20-30 years, negative sensationalism has been increasing. He focuses specifically on television news bulletins, which speak of war, rumors of war, famine, disease, crime, and poverty. These programs cause sadness and anxiety, which “will affect how you interpret events in your own life, what types of memories you recall, and how much you will worry about events in your own life.”
Negative thoughts can lead to depression. Hara Estroff Marano, Editor at Large at Psychology Today, writes that “we have anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day. If your cast of mind is predominantly negative, imagine how many negative thoughts you are generating daily – thousands upon thousands. That is precisely the case with depression.”
Depression affects more than 21 million Americans, both children and adults. It is the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44.
What can be done?
Defeating negative thinking begins with eliminating repetitious negative news and replacing it with good news.
But what’s the good news? Is there any?
Good news is not just the touchy-feely eat-a-roasted-marshmallow-from-the-campfire type of story. Nor is it only positive thinking. Instead, it is knowledge – overtly good knowledge, which can create satisfying work, enable forward thinking in communities, heal, and even save life. Good news is word in print that is powerful.
Good news is also tested news. It has been refined by labs, experience, and time.
A Pew Research Internet study found that 72% of Americans follow local news closely. This is a majority of our population.
The same study also found 44% of Americans want more science-related news, and 39% are asking for more health and medical news. Regarding the government, 39% want more state information and 38% want more coverage of their neighborhood and local affairs.
“61% say they often find information in the news that helps them improve their lives,” according to Pew.
What good-news researchers are telling us now:
The emergency room in any hospital is an emotional place. Did you know that a recent study has shown that when children are being treated there, music will decrease their perceived pain? Shouldn’t local hospitals consider adding this inexpensive help?
Molecular biologists at USC (2013) have shown that the absence of a specific brain protein might be behind extreme over-worry – fear that continues even when there isn’t anything to fear. This study is important for those with learning disabilities and even autism. Wouldn’t parents of children with disabilities wish to know about this new finding?
It’s important to keep working, even into your later years. This lowers dementia risk. Though this idea may be new to you, it has been recently studied by the Alzheimer’s Association and is a time-tested living style for the Okinawans. Heart disease, cancer and strokes are practically non-existent; most natives expect to live to be 100. Simple physical living is key. They are farmers and fishermen through age 90. This is an important consideration for aging baby-boomers.
Good news is often already in use in our community. Professionals, businessmen, doctors, and the like are experts in their fields – they already practice innovative testing, implement recent technology, etc.. These, and researchers, are the people to look to.
Remember World Boxing Champ Donny Poole? A good Samaritan, he’s changing lives outside the ring too.
Do you know Coach Mike Sawtelle? He’s a dedicated teacher who has helped kids stay in school, get to state competitions and receive college scholarships – all of this while taking a cut in coaching pay. He’s truly an inspiration to others.
Have you heard that there’s a free typeface for those with dyslexia developed by Abelardo Gonzalez? OpenDyslexic is already changing how books are printed and kids are reading.
Did you know that school music programs are in danger of being cut? Probably. More importantly, did you know that the effects of music programs on the brains of children make them worth keeping? Ask Dr. John Enyart. He has influenced thousands of kids for the better with his orchestra program.
Almost every community in the country has youth with disabilities. How many of them are working? Did you know that there’s a program developed by award-winning teacher Conney Dahn, that will develop skills and enable these youth to find jobs?
Good news. That’s what we need today. We need solutions to problems, not the continuous shelling of bad news on our minds. Americans: many of you are the source of good news. Begin to participate on your local news websites. Many online local newspapers offer a page for you to submit your own content. Write about your good news. Tell your fellow citizens what you’ve done that has created a solution to a problem. See your own name in print.