This has been a crazy summer for us in the United States. The increased fervor in the coming elections and the LGBT marriage issues, the mass murders in both the Colorado Theater and in the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, wild fires breaking out all over the place. And don’t forget that the world is ending on December 21, 2012. Thanks Mayans. And in the middle of it, we all are wondering which way to turn next.
Or not. I have stated my well-wishes and my condolences, followed the fires burning so close to home and the ones farther away and tried my very, very best to ignore the political ads that are almost literally everywhere. And still hold to reason on the marriage issues. How do you stay sane in the face of all of this yelling and crying and protesting? Last week, I wrote about the GMO Labeling issue and a couple before that on conflict management. This time, I’m going to focus on Focus.
There is (and has been for more than 20 years) an overdose of news in this country. It is hard to fill 24 hours with news. Of course news is always happening in all of our lives, but the average human filters out newsworthy from non-newsworthy pretty much automatically. So does a 24 hour news network, which is why we are inundated with a few stories from multiple angles all day long. This is focus. And the same principle that fills us with information overload and stress is what can stop the overload and stress.
- Change your focus to just one news broadcast or source a day. Not “and”, but “or”. Just one. You will hear big things echoed all over the social networks and the internet in general without putting any effort into it anyway. Just one hour of news a day, either in print or on video or radio. No more.
- Just pay attention to a couple of stories that particularly concern you. Limit those to ones you really have an undecided interest in. Local stories are the easiest example here. Tune the rest out. Find something else that needs your attention.
- Silence that voice in your head that is saying that you are missing out on something or that not being informed on all of this is social irresponsibility. There is only so much you can actually help with, and the rest is guilt.
- The glut of Political commercials right now is just ridiculous. If you haven’t decided who you wish to vote for by now, let me know in the comments and I will apologize, but really? Who hasn’t already made up their minds? If you aren’t voting for the two mainline Presidential candidates, you already have a third party candidate you like or aren’t voting. Tune it all out. All of it. It is just bad arguing technique and that is it.
Shift that focus to something that you can personally change. Your health. Your happiness. Your community. Your budget. Your family. Something that you have a strong vested interest in the outcome.