Over and over again in life, things happen. Things that don't make us happy today, and won't make us happy tomorrow, or probably, ever. Hearing about those things, or reading about the repeatedly, won't make us happy, today or tomorrow, or the next day.
Aspects of use of social media have been correlated with unhappiness. "FaceBook has long been strongly associated with a decline in people’s emotional well being."
A news site, the Guardian, stated "News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether. As they note, (1) News misleads. (2) News is irrelevant. (3) News has no explanatory power. The more "news factoids" you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand (4). News is toxic to the body. It constantly triggers the limbic system, and deregulates the immune system. (5) News increases cognitive errors. (6) News increases cognitive errors. (7) News inhibits thinking. Steals our attention, interrupts, makes us shallow thinkers, and more. (8) News works like a drug. (9) News wastes time. (10) News makes us passive. (11) News kills creativity." (heavily edited on my part, original article is worth reading). In other words, news does not make us happy.
And yet, what is life, without being happy? Ingersoll knew it: "Every human being longs to be happy, to satisfy the wants of the body with food, with roof and raiment, and to feed the hunger of the mind, according to his capacity, with love, wisdom, philosophy, art and song. ~Robert G. Ingersoll, How To Reform Mankind
I'm no Pollyanna. I've faced grief, abuses, worry, illness, deaths and betrayals, as much as many. Even now, with cancer treatment and loss of meaningful work. But will it make me happy to focus on those losses?
I would rather look for the positive. Find inspiration. Seek things to accomplish. Explore. Find joy.
Despite some articles suggesting otherwise, I'm not off all social media, and I do read news. But what I've stopped doing is, reading doom and gloom. I've greatly limited my exposure to the Gloomy Gus's and Debbie Downers of the world. I seek people who are cheerful and positive, and try to bend others to see the bright side of things. Some do not have a temperament for positivity, and eventually I accept that and don't try. Fine, there has been news counter to my values. It's gonna happen, a lot. And I do read the news, but I sometimes try to take the approach that it's like a novel or movie, which I know I can't influence, so just see what happens for interest and to test my abilities to analyze and predict. I do care about people who are having a rough time, but I feel helpless to change that.
Find some new pleasures, or revisit old ones. Avoid politics. How does politics possibly help me or make me happy? I doubt, I'll ever give up current events. I subscribe to NY Times and Washington Post, but I don't obsess over the daily grind of bad, and worse, and worser, news.
I'd rather be happy.
Finishing with my hero, Ingersoll, "To love justice, to long for the right, to love mercy, to pity the suffering, to assist the weak, to forget wrongs and remember benefits – to love the truth, to be sincere, to utter honest words, to love liberty, to wage relentless war against slavery in all its forms, to love wife and child and friend, to make a happy home, to love the beautiful in art, in nature, to cultivate the mind, to be familiar with the mighty thoughts that genius has expressed, the noble deeds of all the world, to cultivate courage and cheerfulness, to make others happy, to fill life with the splendor of generous acts, the warmth of loving words, to discard error, to destroy prejudice, to receive new truths with gladness, to cultivate hope, to see the calm beyond the storm, the dawn beyond the night, to do the best that can be done and then to be resigned – this is the religion of reason, the creed of science. This satisfies the brain and heart."
– Robert G. Ingersoll