Always Carry a Mental Umbrella

The news that comes across the airwaves (and now more likely through your screen) is little more than thunderclouds of negativity sweeping across the landscape of your life. Looking at the horizon. Do you see those dark clouds looming? It should make us run for cover, but instead, we jump into the storm. Why?

I think it comes down to the insidious nature of news. Tragedy makes headlines. Hope is relegated to the backpage. Recently I gave up reading the news for Lent (now the only part of the digital paper I read is the funnies) and it feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

I’m not advocating sticking your head in the sand and tuning out the world. I see a snapshot of the headlines in the email Apple News sends me. But now, I don’t indulge in the full article because I know what that will do to my sanity. 

Consider the scroll of articles on your news app. They never have an ending. Or the news networks that are on the air 24 hours a day. Being uninformed leads to ignorance. But the information today is like a deluge.

So if you do have to slog through the negative thunderstorm of our modern media, at least carry an umbrella. Delete your news app (or make it harder to access easily). Set a timer for how long you can get sucked in by the news (and when it goes off, stop).

Finally, treat yourself at the end of the media dump with something that tickles your fancy. For me, it’s reading the funny pages. They shine a light in on an otherwise gloomy worldview. 

It reminds me of a quote by Turkish playwright Mehmet Murat Ildan:

When you are caught in the heavy rains of anger, open the umbrella of mind, take refuge under the roof of reason!

Blind nihilism is just as bad as blind optimism. We can’t go around thinking like Chicken Little and waiting for the sky to fall. If we keep staring up, searching for what’s wrong in the world, we’ll end up walking off a cliff.

So pop open your mental umbrella and get out there in the world. Hope doesn’t need to be relegated to the backpage. 

Tim

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