How About a News Fast?
The Martial Art of Wellness
Volume 12 – April 2013
Welcome to this month’s BioNews. We must learn to free ourselves from the control that others exert over us. As we learn we become FREE, we become powerful. This pursuit of self defense in wellness, I call “The Martial Art of Wellness.” And as we practice we become Wellness Ninjas.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world… as in being able to remake ourselves.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
I just wanted to give you an update on Ginger (she was diagnosed with Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA).) My husband Karl came in on 2/19 to get the micro algae and we started her on 1/3 of a capsule 3 times per day. On 2/21 she went back to vet and her blood test showed she was getting worse and her blood test showed level 20. (normal range is 48+). At that time we thought she would be gone by the weekend. She was not eating or drinking. I had to force feed her water and her F3 pills. We gathered the family on Friday to say our goodbyes. It looked like she was done. I had every intention of bringing her back to the vet on Saturday to put her to sleep. Saturday morning she got up and right away I noticed a change. She had energy, her jaundice was better. Her urine was not orange/red, it was bright yellow. She was now drinking on her own!
Sunday she had another “bad” day, less energy. By Monday she rallied again, and Tuesday we had a vet visit planned, thinking if she was worse she would be put to sleep and if she was the same or better we would keep fighting. Well Tuesday she woke up and right away I knew she was getting better! She walked to her water dish on her own as well as went outside by herself. AND when I said “Ginger, want to go for a ride in the car?” She jumped off the couch and bounded outside and in the car!!!! At the vet she got sub Q liquids to help with dehydration and a blood draw. When the vet came into the room he was smiling! He said she is definitely responding!!! Her blood test only showed slight improvement 21, but he said he was “hopeful” he told us that when we left on Thursday he thought he would never see her alive again. At that time I shared with him that I started giving her the BioSuperfood, and his face went almost white. He said “when?” and I realized he was afraid that caused this problem. I assured him it was only after she got sick and that I thought it was saving her life.
Today we went back to the vet and her blood level is at 35!!!! We both had tears in our eyes as he told me. I really think the BioSuperfood saved her life, and I wanted to let you know and thank you so much for all your help.
Sincerely, Karil Gierum, Cary, IL
My personal frustration with television news is ongoing, but in the wake of this week’s media frenzy over the Boston marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt, I thought that it would be appropriate to write on the topic of information overload. Though I could research and compose from scratch my ideas on this topic, I also know when not to re-invent the wheel. Instead I chose to summarize the general ideas from the writings of one of Rolf Dobelli’s articles, “News is bad for you,” which was recently published in The Guardian.
If you are like me, you are often and at times always tuned in to the news. You read the paper in the morning (well I stopped doing that myself a while back), get your Facebook fix before work, listen to the radio in the car, turn the TV on after work, and end the day on Facebook. I am certain that many of you like me have noticed that keeping up with the news all the time can be exhausting, but curiously we keep doing it.
We know that eating too much sugar is bad for our health, but not very many people understand that, in the words of Dobelli, “News is to the mind what sugar is to the body.” Unlike books, in-depth articles and long magazines, the news is easy to swallow, fun to hear about and does not require much cognitive effort to digest. We can swallow an unlimited amount of “news candy.”
But news candy is no better than real candy. As we fill our skulls with news that has no theoretical or practical utility in our lives and that often does not affect us at all, we begin to rot. With this article, I am going to try to convince you that too much news is toxic. And at the end of the article, I am going to challenge you to go on a “news fast” with me. Turn off the news for a week or a month, or once in a while and I am willing to bet that you will be happier because of it. Do it as an experiment and let me know how it goes.
News Is Misleading
The news focuses on the wrong type of information. Take presidential elections, for example. If you listen to CNN, ABC, Fox or any other major news outlet, you are guaranteed to hear about who is ahead in the polls, who “won” last night’s debate and some personal detail about the candidate’s marriage or family life. Why? Because it’s easy. This type of information is simple, exciting and cheap to produce for the journalist, unlike in-depth reports that take more time and cost more money. But in-depth information about Obama’s stance on current issues is more important than what breed of dog he just bought.
Now think of all the distressing information that is broadcast by the news. Just this past week there were the Boston bombings, a major earthquake in China and the explosion of a fertilizer plant in Texas, the death toll of these events amounting to almost 200. Did anyone noticed the immediate die off the North Korean crisis which was the only news the week before? And this is not unusual. Every day on the news, murders, plane crashes and natural disasters compete for our attention.
What would be useful to know is how often these events actually occur, how they can be prevented and the risk that they might happen elsewhere. But this kind of reporting is too complicated. Instead, the news focuses on superficial facts and the abundance of distressing news leads us to believe that the world outside our doors is more dangerous than it actually is.
The danger of presenting the news in this way is that it distorts our perception of the world. We overestimate the risk of dying from a terrorist attack and underestimate the risk of dying from chronic stress. We rely too much on over-the-counter drugs and disregard the type of food we buy at the supermarket. We worship celebrities and athletes but ignore teachers and nurses.
It is difficult to think rationally in the face of images broadcast by the media. Seeing footage of a plane crash is so alarming that you can’t help but think of it the next time you take a flight, regardless the probability of whether the event will happen again. It is hard not to over-react in one way or another. The only way to stop being misled by the news is to turn it off.
News is Bad for Thinking
We delude ourselves when we think that accumulating thousands of news stories in our heads gives us a better understanding of the world. Actually, quite the opposite happens. The things that are important to know in life are not headlines, but wisdom that slowly emerges from deep reflections. We need to exercise our brains by making an effort to assimilate and contemplate things that are useful, not simply swallowing “news candy” that requires no assimilation at all.
The news does not encourage us to think. Thinking requires concentration, which implies not being interrupted. The news, with its constant deluge of facts, however, is designed to stop us from concentrating.
Even articles on news websites are now interspersed with hyperlinks so that when you read, you are constantly diverted from the subject. Canadian researchers have shown that the mere presence of these links in the text reduces the level of understanding, because your brain is constantly distracted by the impulse to click.
News is Bad for Your Health
Scary headlines and distressing news stories activate our stress system, which leads to a chain reaction of events in the body. Acute stress triggers the release of cortisol, which suppresses the immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. And being repeatedly exposed to stress, which happens every time we watch the news, can lead to a state of chronic stress. Chronic stress is noticeably bad for your health, causing symptoms such as impaired digestion, disrupted sleep, lack of cell, hair and bone growth, nervousness and susceptibility to infections.
So what is one supposed to do?
Everything I have just said does not mean that our world does not need news or news journalists. Instead, we need news that focuses on the facts that matter. Our journalists need to do research and cross-check their facts instead of relying on other people’s reports or whatever they can find on the internet. There are some journalists that do this already, but not enough.
How About a News Fast?
This is the part where I urge you to turn off the news. Take a break from the shock stories and the sensational headlines. Look for the meaningful reports written by investigative journalists. Read long journal articles and in-depth books instead of headlines. Lay off the news candy, and your mind will thank you for it.
This article was inspired by:
- “Avoid News: Towards a Healthy News Diet” by Rolf Dobelli
- “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier” by Rolf Dobelli available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli
- “Les infos ruinent la santé” by Jean-Marc Dupuis