Tag: Tranquility

I’m Happier When I Don’t Read the News. Now What?


7866309682_4165b0bcd9_zI’ve been trying it as an experiment: not reading the news, at all. I didn’t really think it would make that much difference. The experiment is now going on Day 10, and the results are so dramatic that — were this a formal protocol — I’d be morally obliged to halt the experiment, take the control group off the placebo, and give them the no-news treatment.

The change is not — I repeat, not — a minor effect; and every bit of intuition (for what that’s worth) tells me that neither is it merely the result of expecting to feel better and therefore feeling better. I’m sleeping better. I’m waking up more refreshed. I’m enjoying every moment of my life more. I have more energy. I’m more patient with everyone around me. The effect is comparable to, say, getting regular physical exercise (as opposed to sitting on my rump all day), or to my change in mood when spring finally arrives after a long, cold and gloomy winter. I’m not so somatically self-involved that I take regular measurements of these things, but I’d be curious to know if I’ve experienced a change in blood pressure, resting heart rate, cortisol levels, and so forth. From the way I feel, I’d be unsurprised to learn that I have.

It makes sense, I suppose: the news is unremittingly bleak. I’m a fairly sensitive person. Of course I feel better when I don’t know what’s happening beyond my lovely and peaceful neighborhood. I’m sure it’s better for my mental and physical health to be cheerfully oblivious. But there’s only one problem: it’s wrong.