Why you should go on a Media Diet

How long would you spend with someone who made 17 negative comments for every positive one? Probably not long. Oddly, research indicates the ratio in a typical newsfeed of bad news to good news is 17 to one.  

Given that imbalanced ratio, it makes little sense to spend too much time in negativity. No matter what your mood is before you start consuming the news, you will inevitably wind up in a worse state of mind. 

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”
— Jim Morrison

People that write and report on negative stories know that we all have a negativity bias; we are more likely to watch, read, and click on negative stories than we are positive stories. Have you heard the saying “if it bleeds it leads?”  

I can already hear the push back, “I have to stay informed!” I am not saying bury your head in the sand—that would be just as foolish as watching the news 24/7. But, I am saying cut back a bit, go on a diet, vow not to consume as much. 

There is no incentive for the news to change, so the best option is to shift your focus to a What’s Going Well mindset. Here are 3 steps to get you started: 

  1. (warning: shameless plug) Read my book What’s Going Well? It is full of strategies and ideas to help you stick to the What’s Going Well mindset.

  2. Journal about What’s Going Well. At a minimum, write down three things going well each morning and reflect on them in the evening (shameless plug #2 - get the What’s Going Well? 90-Day Companion Journal).

  3. For the next 90 days, go on a media diet. Turn off the local and national news, turn off news push notifications on your phone, and stop checking headlines on the internet.


“One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.”
— Gwendolyn Brooks