Jodi Lea Stewart

Loving and Writing About the Southwest and the South

Watch the News and Still be Happy?


Pollia Condensata plant

News is stressful.

Hatred. Violence. Tragedy.

All proclaimed to us nonstop from television, smart devices, word-of-mouth, newspapers or magazines.

How can we cope?

Pick one:

Develop a la la la . . . don’t worry . . . be happy attitude – Just keep right on skiing, visiting Disney World, fly-fishing, electronic game playing, reading gossip mags, etc. with the attitude that all politicians speak with a forked tongue, so why bother voting? Don’t get involved in causes, whether political, religious, or humane because you darn sure know none of that makes a difference anyway. Why waste your time or money? Limit your television viewing to The  (empty-headed) Kardashians, reruns from the 50s and 60s, or the latest, hottest reality show because everything else is just so silly and boring.

Become a news addict – an amazing profession for those who never let bad news sink in more than one-eighth inch into their psyches or spirits. Here’s how it works: You listen. You regurgitate everything you’ve heard *the more horrible, the better* to anyone who will listen. Having done that, you have done your part, feel enlightened, and are ready for the next zillion hours of bad news to report to your hapless friends and family.

Tune out with Positive Methods:

  • Become a Tibetan monk living on a cliff.
  • Become a priest/nun working in a leper colony.
  • Become an underwater spy living in a one-man sub doing subterfuge espionage for the government.

 Tune Out with Negative Methods:

  • Overindulge in any or every thing: food, alcohol, drugs, gossip, hoarding, daytime television  . . . you name it.

OR you can . . .

Be informed without total absorption – No one said you have to take in a 24/7 dose of news. For example, I like to watch or read a weekend review of the top stories rather than take in a daily dose. I never watch the late night news because knowing a little child has been abducted, or a handicapped veteran burned to death in his home, aren’t the kind of stories I want to sleep with.

Be involved in a healthy balanced way.

  • Educate yourself about politicians who run for office and then vote. Every vote, every time . . . makes a difference.
  • Find responsible causes that line up with what you feel is important in this world. Then go ahead, open your heart and your wallet.
  • Limit  your television/small screen time. Up your reading time. Engage in social functions that have real people really interacting. Balance that with your on-line social media interaction. Balance = harmony.

Be grateful – appreciate what you do have rather than what you don’t have. Be glad for your family and/or friends. Realize that life could always be worse, but it isn’t right now, so for heaven’s sake, enjoy the now! The simplest things can bring pleasure if you have a grateful heart.

Find things that amaze. That photo up at the top of this blog is a little something I ran into today – the Pollia Condensata plant. It almost blew me off my chair! I wouldn’t be surprised if it nearly blew some scientists off their petri dishes.

Here’s the deal. I love carnival glass, a man-made iridescent glass created from metallic salts and heat. The exact same look was created by nature  from the interaction of light with the plant’s skin, which contains layers of microscopic cellulose fibers. Tell me that isn’t cool.

So, news, political unrest, lying, criticizing be hanged. It’s there. We need to know what is happening in the world around us. We need to care and be involved. Yes, we do. But we also need to raise good kids, read, read to someone else, eat good food, enjoy music, write novels or poetry or essays. We need to look around at the beauty of our world, not just the chaos and dissension of miserable people who aren’t happy and who don’t want anyone to be happy.

It all boils down to choice. Will you let the worries of the world weigh you down, make you depressed, behave obsessively, or worse? Or will you realize that this is your one life and you must live it multi-faceted with honor, integrity, and fun? You decide.

How do you cope with the unsettled feelings you get from most news reports?


Your opinion matters to me.

Just for fun . . .



“Why wasn’t I more careful about my media use?”

11 thoughts on “Watch the News and Still be Happy?

  1. First, that plant is amazing. What happens in the natural world constantly surprises and excites me.

    I find the practical approach to news watching/absorbing to be really difficult. It’s a sensitivity thing for me, I think. I am agitated by really loud or repetitive music AND by really bright lights AND by the barrage of bad news. My instinct is to cut myself off from it, although I find it much easier to read bad news than to see on TV or listen to on radio or TV. At least when I’m reading, I can take a breather or try to put it in perspective or look for what’s valuable rather than what is ramped up simply for the sake of agitating people.

    1. Sara, we’re twins in that I also am sensitive to loud, blaring music, glaring lights and the barrage of bad news. I like to believe that our sensitivity partners well with our writing talent. Who wants to read material written by an automaton-personality? None of us, and that’s why novels written by people who have deeply experienced the sorrows and elation of life are many times more fulfilling than novels written by folks in their twenties, or even thirties. Sorry, younger writers…it’s just a universal law, and there are, naturally, exceptions.

      Tami Clayton has shared a link with us below that deserves our attention…a good news place! As I said in my blog, balance = harmony. Of course, we must know what is happening in the world, whether we hear it or read it, *and I get it how reading it can be more palatable* but balancing the bad news with good news is a realistic option.

      1. One more thought, Sara…yes, the Pollia Condensata plant is truly amazing! It’s every bit as exciting as a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, “which happens when a naturally-occurring micro-organism in the water is disturbed, causing a chemical reaction which emits light.”* At night, in the case of blooming red algae, it causes a neon tide like the one that was seen in California this time last year!
        *Sara Nelson/Mail Online, 9/2011

  2. I don’t watch the news very often and tend to get much of what I know from internet news sites. That way, I can take it in slowly, bit by bit, when I’m ready to read it (much like Sara does above). I also balance things out by reading a new (to me) blog called Daily Good that features news and articles about the good things in life. I’m really enjoying it. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

    1. Thank you so much for sharing the Daily Good with us! That’s awesome, and I know I’ll be visiting it constantly. I’m with you about the Internet news and taking it bit by bit rather than in a flood of “yellow headlines” repeated endlessly! I do watch the news when foreigners start killing our American citizens; and I have to say, it infuriates me. Therefore…and I am saying this in a calm *cool it, Jodi!* voice, I don’t watch for long periods of time – just enough to get the facts. Thanks for visiting, Tami, and I’m highly excited about your new writing project!

  3. I am completely floored that the above photo is a REAL, living plant and not something straight from the glassblowers lips. Wow, how awesome is nature!

    Clearly the news has become something of a nightmare and it’s a wise person who takes it all in careful doses. It frustrates me when I hear someone say they NEVER listen to news because it’s too depressing, because although the news is generally not so much good as hit-you-over-the-head-dreadful, to not be aware or concerned for lives beyond our own front doors is to deny it’s existence.

    We’ve certainly arrived at a weird place in the world where bad behavior is rewarded with front page headlines, celebrities get more press than Average Joe Heroes, and some people have forgotten that by ignoring the rest of the world we fail to extend necessary compassion.

    Which isn’t to say we need to saturate ourselves with the bad and ugly. I like your recipe for balanced doses of world events with “Daily Good” as a chaser. (THANK YOU, TAMI!)

    Wise and thoughtful post, Jodi:-D

    1. Barbara, when I first saw the picture of the Pollia Condensata plant , I thought, “Oh, look! Carnival glass grapes!” It blows my mind that it’s a living plant.

      News is a necessary pain akin to needles puncturing our skin to deliver life-saving drugs. It sucks! But it is what it is…and I agree with you that to ignore the news entirely is selfish at the very least.

  4. OK, this is totally self-serving. I clip negative news articles that show people’s foibles, greed, lust, blindness, lack of manners or whatever, and consider whether they’re “fun” enough to write stories about. Charles Baxter said, “Hell is story friendly.” He might as well have said, “Hell and the news about hell is story friendly.”

  5. This topic has been weighing on my mind for quite some time. I don’t watch the news at all ~ it gets me all kinds of depressed. I’ll see current news online and will follow a story that I think is important and that I can do something about ~ like politics, for instance.

    But if it’s a story about animals or children being hurt ~ forget about it ~ I will be a wreck. It will stay with me and haunt me for a long time ~ I have little coping mechinisms for that and it’s hard to crawl out of the funk. So, I avoid whenever possible.

    Great post ~ I’m interested in what people have to say about it.
    Great post, Jodi

    1. I hear you – the sad stories about children, animals, old folks tear me up for an inordinate amount of time. I avoid that kind of news with great fervor. My wailing about it won’t do any good, so I support certain agencies like World Vision, Covenant House, and ROAR (a charity for the animals on the Native American Reservations), etc. That way, I don’t have to feel helpless, which is how I feel when I hear of cruelty to the innocent and unprotected.

      However, we can and we must stay up on the political, educational, and governmental news in this country, and in the world. If not, we are without excuse when any of those systems fail, or brings to office someone we know is incompetent, reckless…and even dangerous. Kudos to you, Kim, for staying abreast of the political and world news!

      Thanks for visiting!

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