The headlines have been grim in recent months.
It can be difficult to avoid the stress and the compassion fatigue that comes with the onslaught of bad news. But so often, we forget that the onslaught of bad news often comes because of an undue focus on negative news stories by the media.
I have to remind myself that just because I don’t hear about good news doesn’t mean that there aren’t positive things happening in the world. It’s just so much easier to focus on the negative, largely in part of a negativity bias that scientists believe is evolutionary. But I hear something like the story of Boko Haram releasing dozens of the kidnapped Chibok school girls, and all I can think about are the hundred or so still missing, or at least unaccounted for.
Don’t we all do that? It’s hard to focus on the survivors of any tragedy when our hearts break at the loss and devastation of those who are lost. But it’s important that we count those survivors and that we also focus on the positive news in the world. Otherwise, it’s easy to become disenchanted and even depressed about the state of the world. We can give in to that anxiety and feel its weight, or we can choose to provide ourselves with a little more balance.
So where can we go if we want to balance out all of that bad with some of the good?
>> A favorite of mine is the Good News Network. It features daily inspirational stories from around the world, and it even features good news from this day in history, which shows us that good news stories are always around—even when they aren’t trending.
>> Daily Good is another website that offers exclusively positive news. It offers the positive news stories along with ideas for individuals to take action to perpetuate more good news. Daily and weekly subscriptions are available.
>> Positive News is another site that offers exclusive good news for your reading pleasure and helps to remind us that there are just as many positive stories out there as negative ones.
>> Another positive news source comes from Sunny Skyz. This site also provides daily stories that inspire and give us hope for humanity.
>> BBC News, while not exclusively positive, does offer a place for people to go to get only positive news stories each week. Head over to This Week’s Happy News for three stories to inspire and uplift you.
By seeking out good news over bad, we can help remind ourselves that negative news stories don’t give us the whole picture of the world. This isn’t to say that we should ignore all of the negative headlines.
However, focusing on positive stories simply helps give us a mental and emotional break, while restoring our faith in humanity and providing balance in our news consumption.
Here are a few free apps that also can give us a daily dose of inspiration and happiness:
>> The Good News Network. It’s not just a website and Facebook page: There’s a free app!
>> Secret of Happiness. This app offers a 30-day challenge to help retrain your brain to focus on the positive.
>> Happier. This app combines the best of social media with a gratitude journal.
>> Happy Habits: Choose Happiness. This app utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to help us learn how to be happier. It contains a happiness assessment, an affirmation journal, suggestions to help us become more happy, a tracker to allow us to monitor our progress, articles about happiness, and audio files that focus on relaxation, emotions, and how we are capable of choosing happiness.
>> Happify. This app contains a variety of psychology-based strategies to increase happiness, including quizzes, activities, daily tasks, and games. It claims to help reduce negative thoughts, increase coping skills for stress, and build self-confidence.
We cannot leave it up to journalists and mass media to provide us with balance any more than we can put the sole responsibility of educating our children in the hands of school educators. We have personal responsibility to manage our emotions and to take care of ourselves.
When we begin to stress about the news or feel compassion fatigue, we can take positive action to help ourselves feel better. Perhaps that action includes more civic involvement or performing a random act of kindness, but another way to do this is to focus on something positive.
Focusing on the positive alone won’t solve the world’s problems, and we surely have a lot of them. But I firmly believe that when we take care of ourselves and make our mental and emotional health a priority, we’re more able to take a positive, solution-focused approach to the problems that face us.
However, as long as we’re bogged down under the weight of negative news, we likely won’t have the strength or endurance to face the challenges ahead. Because at the heart of it all, we need to maintain our faith in humanity and our belief in the basic goodness of people if we’re ever going to create the change we want to see.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina