Thursday, January 16, 2014

Negativity Overload

If you read a daily paper, watch TV, or are on the Internet you might be experiencing negativity overload.  It’s the constant sensationalism of life’s unfortunate circumstances.  I call it emotional bullying to pick out the worst of behavior (real and manufactured) and make it the headlines of the day. 

One suggestion is to rid your life of the most blatant sources: the first section of your favorite daily newspaper, all TV programs with a laugh track or that woman whose monotone voice narrates every police/investigate program, sponsored internet news sources, shock jock radio news and most social media.  Radical?  Hardly. 

As we absorb negativity, even as entertainment, it changes how we view the world, how we react emotionally in real life and how we behave.  It prevents emotional maturity by conditioning us to always be in a state of shock, fear, excitement or unhappiness.  You will see no footnotes crediting this data because it’s an opinion and it’s mine.  After all it’s what columnists do!

I’ve long held to the belief that gardening is a natural tension reliever.  It works from within to give the mind (which has a huge effect on the body) a serene place to heal, meditate, create, grow and develop.

Gardening need not be another duty or energy sapper.  It shouldn’t be too big or too complicated for your individual needs.  It needn’t be any more than the state of observing if that’s what brings about a positive state of mental health for you.  As an example:  People often comment on my photos of nature.  To take a good photo of something in nature, you have to look and think and wait and treasure the situation.

I’m going out on a limb here when I say if the majority of people who post how busy, how hectic, how difficult and involved they are on social media would spend that time in nature, the level of negativity in their lives would be reduced.

Don’t misunderstand and assume I’m saying this will stop heartache and sadness.  I’m not immune or unaware of illness, pain and loss.  I’m simply suggesting we learn to set boundaries limiting the sensationalism surrounding most of the outside negativity we absorb.  I’m suggesting a method to not only help cope with our own personal problems but to insulate us from manufactured problems.

Family fun 
As an example, it was actually fun to hear everyone talking about the weather this past snow and cold spell.  Even the people who must complain about every event in nature had a bit of a twinkle in their eye as they observed the power of this winter storm.  In spite of the very real dangers of this storm, most kids managed to venture out at least once to do something absolutely fun in the snow.  Most parents warned the kids of the dangers but knew it was good to experience at least a little of this event first hand.  Those of us who might be consider “older” had the opportunity of telling tales of year’s past.  It was a win/win for most of us.

And I refuse to let the media’s headlines of the few horrible events take away the joy of a perfectly good winter storm.  I’m not unfeeling about those that had it rough and I’m thankful for those who worked to make it better and safer.  I simply refuse to let every horrible possibility or event suck the joy out of every natural event.

Nature is a natural salve for the hurts of life.  Gardeners use this all year.  We don’t stop our nature loving just because it’s winter, we simply transfer it to the weather, feeding birds, observing how much moisture this snow will put in the ground and exactly how many pesky insects are being killed by the deep freeze.

As the little sign says “Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.” I rephrase it “Life is too short to spend time with a media who suck the happiness out of you.” 

Nature's beauties
Think about how you feel after you experience negativity, especially manufactured and sensationalized negativity.  If it’s not a positive place for you, come back to nature.  Nature is the perfect place for prayer, meditation, stress relief, relaxation, being creative or energizing.  It’s yours and it’s free.      


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