If you read newspapers, watch CNN, listen to talk radio, and browse the news feeds on the Internet, you might get the idea that the world is quickly descending into a hopeless spiral of war, anarchy, environmental destruction, plague, poverty, discrimination, hunger, and ignorance. It’s not hard to understand why when all you see and hear are terrorist beheadings and bombings, political corruption and lawlessness, racial riots, Ebola outbreaks, wars, and murders.
However, you have to keep in mind that the news media does not show everything that’s happening in the world. When they are limited to a certain amount of print space or air time, reporters will select only what will grab readers’ or viewers’ attention, and that is usually bad news. Let’s face it, bad news sells; good news doesn’t. And for some people, bad news is addictive.
We are so conditioned by the media to think that everything is going to hell that if someone were to claim that we are living in the most peaceful, tolerant, safe, and prosperous time in history, we would likely think they were crazy. But if you look at the statistics on disease, poverty, war, and crime such as murder and rape over the past few hundred years, you will see that they have steadily declined till they are only a fraction of what they were during the middle ages.
The news media needs to get out of the dark ages and into the new age of positivity. If the media had a more balanced approach to reporting what was going on in the world, this would have a positive effect, in itself, on people’s consciousness and the collective consciousness of humanity. This is due to the Law of Attraction, which states, “What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life.”
Geri Weis-Corbley, editor and founder of the Good News Network wrote, “In my experience, since I began 25 years ago to refocus my thoughts on the positive, while training myself to release the negative, I’ve experienced less sickness, less misfortune, less loss, less failure, less crime, less fear and futility, while attracting more of all their opposites.”
Dr. Christiane Northrup, in writing about the Law of Attraction, stated, “Every thought we think changes our biochemistry. Your hormones are all affected by your thoughts. Pay attention to things that bring you joy. When I read the newspaper, I look for the good news.”
Tal Ben-Shahar who taught a positive psychology course at Harvard, one of the most popular courses, said this about focusing on good news: “I recommend that each person makes it a habit to visit the website [goodnewsnetwork.org] at least once a day. Positive information benefits us emotionally, physically, and mentally. It can contribute in a meaningful way to a happier and healthier life.” Researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health have backed this statement by finding that optimism cuts the chances of developing heart disease as well as the rate of lung-decline as we age.
In the world of print media, The Intelligent Optimist magazine (formerly Ode) is leading the charge for greater focus on positive news. Like Geri Weis-Corbley, the founders Hélène de Puy and Jurriaan Kamp were in mainstream media till they became fed up with the constant focus on the negative and wanted to focus instead on solutions, possibilities, and inspiration. The Intelligent Optimist according to it’s website, “presents optimism as the most effective, efficient and by scientific research confirmed strategy to drive the innovation and creativity that are necessary to solve the problems and meet the challenges that people and society face.” Intelligent optimism, as opposed to unfounded Pollyannaish optimism, is presented as a way of life “because it supports individual and global health and happiness.”
I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen and that we should ignore them. But what can we do, other than pray, to right the wrongs or better the terrible conditions in distant parts of the world? Worrying about them will have no effect on them. Instead of worrying about the bad news in the Middle East or Africa or complaining about the bad actions or inaction in Washington, why not get involved in our local community by volunteering? When I was an idealistic college student bent on changing the world, a wise woman, Louise March, who directed a new age commune I worked on one summer told me, “We don’t want to change the entire world but just one small corner of it.” I can see how, if everyone did this, the entire world could be changed and the news media would have to start reporting on the good news because there wouldn’t be much bad news to report on.