Hypnotized by the News?
In today's digital age of manufactured news, the media landscape bombards us with a constant stream of information, opinions, and narratives. Much of what we receive is incendiary and designed to incite emotional reactions. With the increasing influence of social media, 24/7 news cycles, and TikTok consciousness, it's easy to get caught up and even hypnotized by what's happening in the external media. Many newsrooms seem to have a motto of “if it bleeds, it leads” and they stream only the sensational and violence-ridden happenings in the nation. My grandmother used to call this the “Who Shot John” news. However, maintaining our mental well-being and critical thinking skills requires us to stay grounded and not be overwhelmed by the media frenzy. Here are some strategies to help you navigate the media maze with clarity and composure if you find yourself being hypnotized by a constant stream of negative news.
1. Diversify Your Sources: Avoid falling into the trap of relying solely on one media outlet for information. Instead, broaden your perspectives by seeking news from various sources. Different outlets often have different biases and agendas, so comparing multiple viewpoints helps you form a more balanced understanding. Seek out sources that offer “Good News” and positive perspectives. There are some, like “1440” that offer unbiased, fact-based news reporting. Look for reputable sources known for their journalistic integrity and fact-checking practices. This will help you avoid echo chambers and allow you to make informed decisions based on a wider range of viewpoints. Here are a couple of alternative news sources:
1440 News All your news. None of the bias. https://join1440.com/
2. Practice Media Literacy: Developing media literacy skills is crucial to avoid getting hypnotized by sensationalism or misinformation. Be skeptical of clickbait headlines and exaggerated claims. When you see a sensational headline, ask yourself, “Could this be clickbait? Be aware that some content sent to you might be malicious in nature. Clicking that link could install malware or lead you to a malicious website. Take the time to fact-check information before accepting it as truth. Verify the credibility of sources, scrutinize the evidence provided, and look for multiple corroborating sources. Critical thinking and discernment are key to distinguishing reliable information from sensationalized narratives. You can fact-check some widely distributed hoaxes or something you suspect is fake news by checking the www.Snopes.com site. Some common Fact Checks found on the Snopes site include:
Does This Footage Show Stanley Kubrick Directing the Moon Landing?
Did Clarence Thomas Say 'God Only Knows Where I Would Be' Without Affirmative Action?
Do Humans Share 50% of Their DNA with Bananas?
3. Set Boundaries and Take Breaks: Consuming an excessive amount of media can be overwhelming and contribute to feelings of anxiety or helplessness. Doomscrolling, or just compulsively consuming one depressing news story after another can feel like its depleting your life force. Set healthy boundaries by limiting your media intake. Allocate specific times for consuming news, avoiding it right before bedtime. Remember to take regular breaks from media consumption and engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being. This will help you maintain a healthy balance and prevent media-induced hypnotism. You could create a deliberate “fast” from media consumption. Try fasting from the news for a day, a week, or a month. Write about what you notice in your life as a result of letting it go for a while.
Dr Andrew Weil MD on Need a News Fast?
4. Cultivate Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded amidst media overload. Be aware of your emotional and mental state when engaging with media. Notice any triggers that lead to heightened emotional reactions or impulsive sharing of content. Take a moment to pause, breathe, and reflect before engaging further. Mindfulness lets you detach from the constant media stream and regain clarity, enabling more thoughtful and conscious consumption. If you encounter some content that is disturbing, consider it a request for prayer. Send kindness and compassion to all involved in the story. Consider sending a spiritual mind treatment to all concerned and if you need clarification on how to do this, reach out to an Ahiah practitioner or minister for support. You can find us on the Ahiah.com website under Practitioners | Ahiah
Conclusion: As we navigate the digital era and evolve into the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it's essential to remain vigilant in our consciousness and avoid becoming hypnotized by what's being projected in the external media. By diversifying our sources, practicing media literacy, setting boundaries, and cultivating mindfulness, we can protect our mental well-being and spiritual foundation. Remember, the power lies in our hands to be discerning consumers of information and make informed decisions based on reliable sources and our intuitive spiritual discernment.