jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

Rules for Sane Living in a World of Constant Outrage

Turn it all off.

I’ve deleted the twitter apps from my phone and computer, I don’t log into Facebook anymore, and I’m limiting when I read news outside of the tech news to once a week. It just became too much, I started feeling angry all the time, and reading more news wasn’t making me feel any better about it. There was nothing I could do about how I felt, there were no actions I could take to assuage the pain. The constant flow of new events across the world to be outraged about is too much for anyone to handle.

So, I’ve started myself on a strict information diet. Unless the news is related to Apple or the tech industry, or any of my hobbies,1 I’m leaving it till Saturday morning after I’ve gone on a long run.

There is plenty of evidence that binging on news is detrimental to your health. In the past few months I’ve noticed my mental state has grown significantly more pessimistic about the state of the world, when in truth my personal circumstances have never been better.2

That’s not to say that the issues in the world right now are not serious, or that I don’t care about the many, many problems affecting our society. I do. I care enormously. I simply can’t let how much I care dictate how I feel about everything else. I’m not cutting myself off completely, I’m simply making a decision for myself about when and how much of the news I’ll allow in. When the time comes for action, I’ll take it.3 I just don’t need to be reminded about what I already know over, and over, and over.

Sometimes the best thing to do for your own mental health is to log off.

  1. Reading, writing, gardening, running, and general travel and hiking. 

  2. I work from home, in a good job, with a company that I respect and love working for. Raising four kids will always bring times of hardship and doubt, but overall we are ok. 

  3. By taking action I mean writing a letter to my senator, or participating in a march, or voting for who I feel will make the world a better place. I abhor violence.