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“Negativity sells.” – Stephen A. Smith

I follow Stephen King on Facebook and he mentioned today that he was leaving Facebook because there was so much false and misleading information on the platform. I agree, but Facebook has one primary purpose for me–to stay connected with friends and family.

When I first started using Facebook, I’d accept friendship requests from anyone. Then I began to learn my lesson rather quickly. Fake profiles, crazy crap showing up on my newsfeed, and people pestering me for money on Facebook messenger. Lesson learned. In early 2017 I went through my entire list of “friends” on Facebook and developed my own simple rule: If I haven’t worked with someone, met them in person, went to school with them, served in the military with them, or met them through a trusted source, like WordPress, friendship is rejected. You know what? My newsfeed is now filled with wholesome, funny, and relevant content that I enjoy.

The false and misleading information doesn’t stop at Facebook. It is all over the news. Another lesson: Stop reading the news. I scan the news, because I like to stay up on world events and know what’s going on, but I do not open up any news articles unless it’s from my hometown newspaper or it covers something I am interested in, like STEM topics, productivity, psychology, writing, or movie/music/book reviews. If I read something outside of my interest areas, it is purely for entertainment. You know what? My stress levels decreased immeasurably. Just because I refuse to get sucked into articles that are designed to piss me off, stress me out, or make me worry about something.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is the importance of maintaining your sanity by paying attention to what you let in to your consciousness. If you enjoy reading articles filled with lies, exaggerations, and are so slanted one way or another to fire you up, go for it. I choose not to. I’d rather fill my mind with the next scientific discovery on the horizon, look at terrific photos of landscapes, animals, or outer space. I’d rather learn something than read about all the infighting that has reduced our political dialogue to two monkeys throwing shit at each other at the zoo.

Read fulfilling literature, poetry, a well-written non-fiction or fiction book. Watch a good movie. Listen to healing music (classical, sound scapes, and instrumentals are my favorite). These are the things I use to build myself up.

The next time you feel yourself getting stressed out, check what you are letting into your life. I think you’ll be surprised at the stress you have that is self-inflicted.

I hope all of you have a great weekend!

Until next time…