Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
What does it mean to be obsessed with the media? Some of my friends have declared their liberation from following media because it is so outrageous: biased, distorting, and discouraging. They find they have become obsessed with what is happening in this country, and that obsession leads to dysfunction and unhappiness. It’s not that I don’t understand what they mean, but recently I noticed that the intensity of my own obsession is lessening, and I’m feeling just a little less stressed about the future of this country, so I thought I’d share the reasons I think I’m feeling less anxious. First, let me define my definition of being obsessed with the media:
Obsession is a compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety; a compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion. In pathology, a constant brooding upon any subject, such as the thought of death, until the mind becomes dominated by that one idea.
You can decide if any or all of these definitions apply to you; at one time or another, I have to admit they still apply to me. It’s not a positive, constructive way to live one’s life. When I am in an obsessed state, everything else seems to take a backseat. So, at some level, I think I’ve made up my mind to at least spend less time in that state. Here are some of the steps I’ve taken to move me in a healthy direction:
- I’m not on Twitter or Facebook. I think I’ve heard every reason for people being on those sites, but if they are damaging to your mental health, maybe you shouldn’t go there, or at least go there less often. But I’ve heard lots of people say that setting limits for those sites is very hard to do. It’s called being obsessed with those platforms. I rely on a primitive platform to write to friends: email.
- I subscribe to the Orlando Sentinel e-paper, not the print version (except Sundays). It’s really a Leftist rag. But I do like its daily crossword and puzzles. Every now and then I go to their site and see the front page; they are usually attacking our Governor Ron DeSantis, and since I know that routine, I glance at the headline and move on to a productive page—my crossword and puzzles. Every now and then on my way to the puzzles, an article will catch my eye; if it doesn’t sound like kabuki theater, I may print it off, but those times are rare.
- We subscribe to the Wall Street Journal print version. I’m well aware that the main section of the newspaper is only marginally better than the Orlando Sentinel, but I’m selective about what I read and spend most of my time in the op-ed section. I still think their opinion writers are the best in the business and well worth my time. Not only do I enjoy their pieces, but I usually learn a great deal. And they have a crossword puzzle, too.
- I read The Federalist. I skim the titles and don’t read every article, but their writers are brilliant, with Mollie Hemingway, editor, at the top of the list; she is always tactful but hard-hitting in her words, and fearless in condemning her Leftist colleagues. I aspire to be a mini-mollie one day.
- When I do read outrageous articles, I allow myself to get angry and feel my full rage. I think that many people suffer because they insist on holding in or holding on to their rage, which serves no good purpose except to make them angrier and more stressed. So, once I’ve indulged my “angry gene,” I can move on. How do I do that? Years and years of practice. First, I have to really be willing to let the rage go and make the choice not to obsess on it; second, I mentally and sometimes even physically move on to something else that requires my full attention. Trust me, it works. And I am ever so much happier.
- I don’t ruminate (or obsess) on the injustices of America and the world. See the previous bullet for steps to do that. For example, we hear that the “experts” know so much more about COVID-19, yet the data that is put out is essentially wild guesses and propaganda. That has been true from the beginning; in fact, I think they have found new, draconian ways to mislead and control people. So, I don’t look at the data much anymore. Just give me my vaccine shot.
* * * * *
The way I know that my obsession is lessening is that I’m enjoying my ordinary, everyday activities a lot more. I’m enjoying the beauty and silence of my morning walks, and look for the local rabbit on my path who essentially nibbles on the grass and ignores me. I’m starting to appreciate my morning prayers as I become more comfortable with the Hebrew and can experience the beauty of the moment. I feel so rewarded when I make simple Comfort Calls for hospice, checking in with caregivers, and every now and then getting a thank-you for what we do; since we can’t visit patients at this time, at least I am helping their caregivers by telephone. I sweep and wash the tile floor in my kitchen; there is something so satisfying, not only about seeing a clean floor afterward, but knowing I’m doing a small task to make our home more pleasant and inviting. In other words, I’m returning to that “attitude of gratitude” for my good health and a satisfying life with my loving husband.
Most important: I realized that my putting energy into persistently condemning the media was not helpful—for me or for anyone in my life. In fact, I began to realize that I was turning over my personal power to the very people who wanted to disempower me. I was rewarding them with my unhappiness, my helplessness, my frustration. I want as much as I can to take back my power. It’s a process and won’t happen overnight, but life is so much better.
One more thing: I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know frankly which things may improve, and which ones may get worse. But at least I will be in a frame of mind to take it all in, as it comes, and act, if necessary.
I am proud to be an American citizen and want to celebrate that every day. No Marxist propagandist is going to stop me.Published in