Updated: Oct 5
So, I have been trying out a thing called a NEGATIVITY DIET. (It has nothing to do with food, btw.) This diet is just quitting a few things that could potentially F up your day and replacing them with things that will uplift your day.
Here are the things you give up:
GOSSIP (even listening to it),
Angry Social Media Rants,
Negative people (as much as is possible),
Violent media (movies, video games, etc.)
The first few things are pretty easily accepted by most people -- they aren't easy to do, but it is easy to see why giving up gossip, complaining, and such is a good idea.
Then there are two that are hard to avoid -- Social Media negativity and News negativity. These two are quite linked, actuall.
What's that you say?
"But if I miss the news I won't be informed!"
Why that is not true:
Mark Twain put it best, "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed."
I am definitely not saying that the world needs no improvement or those bad things don't happen. Of course, we can do better, and of course, bad things still happen.
However, good things happen too -- newsworthy things that don't make CNN or FOX or their competitors. For example, Boyan Slat figured out how to clean all the plastic out of the pacific-- he started a business (The Ocean Cleanup) that does exactly that and they make products like bracelets and flip flops with the ocean plastic they removed. Scott Harris founded Charity Water and has raised a ton of money from regular folks to provide clean water to thousands of people who didn't have access to it before. Paul Stamets, a mycologist (mushroom scientist), found that mushroom spores can bolster the immune system of bees so they don't get a virus that is killing them off. (Learn more about Fungi here.) He's saving the bees, people, this is what we wanted! This is good news! Did I hear about these stories on FOX or CNN? No, I heard about them on a podcast. A couple in Brazil replanted a destroyed rainforest and have reintroduced several species of animals to the area. (Check out the story here.) These are all real stories, btw. These stories are everywhere but you often have to find them on non-traditional news sources. Once I found them I realized that my actions can and do matter. I can be a force for good in the world. All of us can. I figure it is best to just start small and easy -- with a potted plant or a kind word or just tidy something. It will build and build until you've realized that all of your attention on the positive has inspired action (in yourself and in others) that has produced results -- maybe huge results. Maybe you'll be the start of a bee-saving or ocean-cleaning sized positive impact.
Another thing to consider -- the usual media outlets want the bragging rights of "breaking" a story before anyone else. Accuracy is a bit farther down the list of priorities. The result, as Mark Twain pointed out, is that you're misinformed.
CNN, FOX, and their competitors are no longer a source of information. They are a source of anxiety and depression....and then, what do we do? We share these inaccurate, fear creators on social media. We just share our hopelessness with our friends. If they don't have their guard up, they'll catch our hopelessness like the common cold.
We need to celebrate our achievements. That is essential if we want to achieve more and make more progress. Cultivate what we want more of -- if we want more solutions, tell the world about solutions -- do the same with kindness, with responsibility, with any kind of win. You get more of what you attend to, cultivate, and focus on.
Lately, I am seeing posts on social media that obsess over fear-infused politics -- as I am sure we all do. (BTW, does anybody know if politics must be fear-based and not hope based? Let's fix that too.) The folks sharing fear-infused articles seem despondent -- how could they feel otherwise? They express hopelessness and that there is nothing we can do to improve our situation. Why do we allow these messages to steal our hope, our ambition, our plans for our own lives?
Do not let a negative story (political or otherwise) steal your joy. Live your life anyway. Make plans, build things, learn things, do things.
I also have seen social media posts of folks who are doing things, trying things, learning things and sharing that with all of us. These shares are exciting and far more hopeful -- and more importantly, they inspire positive action. I regularly see some posts of an artist I follow showing her new paintings and teaching kids' art classes in her community -- her inspired action makes me want to paint or teach a kid to draw. She's a bright shiny light and is doing the things she loves. It makes me want to be a bright shiny light and do the things that I love.
Find the good news stories and share them. Your friends and followers are influenced by what you share. Imagine what your words inspire in all avenues of communication combined.
Be a positive story. Say things that inspire hope and positive action.
PS. Paul Stamets' website has some helpful tips for saving bees. (Click for link to seven simple tips to save the bees.) For some more in-depth reading on mushrooms click below.
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*Daniella Bozzone is an author and illustrator of uplifting children's books and daily practice journals. Click the links below to check out her books: