It’s that time again.
Time for me to turn off the media channels. About once a year or so I have to take a couple of weeks off from “news” media.
This is tough because I’m an addict. I use TV, radio and newspaper to numb out and, like smoking a cigarette, I feel like shit after I do it.
My favorite forms of addictive media are: CNBC to start the day, NPR news and talk radio in the car, the Wall Street Journal when I travel, and CNN to end the day. Like most of my addictions I don’t over-indulge, just five or ten minute hits. Yet these habits are toxic and take me farther away from what I really hunger for in my life.
To call all this information news is a real stretch. It is dramatized, designed to stimulate neurons that attract addicts, and presented by celebrities/entertainers. Very little news is educational, new or surprising.
My media patterns cost me. They generate fear (e.g., How are we going to pay for this Libya intervention?), they distract me from my real work and service, they disconnect me from my inner life and, worst of all, from those around me.
So this week will be tough as I go through withdraw. I didn’t turn on CNBC this morning, will not pick up the WSJ I share with office mates, I will stick to music while in the car and no CNN tonight—I’ll read instead.
When I’ve done this in the past I feel more relaxed and present and after a few days my cravings fade. I remain very aware of the issues humanity is facing – I don’t need CNN to help me with that and I do what I can to make a difference in my world.
Are you up for joining me? We can compare notes in two weeks.
Here are five ideas to help you detox:
- Place your morning paper directly into the recycle bin (or enlist someone else to do it so you never see it).
- Only watch movies or enriching shows (Does 2 ½ Men count as enriching – not for me but The Office is high culture!) or better yet read a good book.
- Music only when in the car – or silence is nice.
- Any news-type emails in the Inbox – Hit Delete before reading the subject line.
- Disable any push technology that links news feeds to your Browser or Home or Start Page.