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by Diane Robertson

Sometimes, it’s best to step aside, turn it off, quit watching, or just stop paying attention. After the US elections, all media outlets emerged with pictures and videos of people rioting, crying, and venting their emotions. Social media was full of people defending their stance or their candidate. Much of it looked ugly.

Then I noticed a lot of people doing something similar. They began stepping aside. They refused to argue. Many said they needed a break from social media for a week or more. Others talked about turning off their television, ignoring the media, and focusing on their lives and their families.

One friend of mine mentioned how her family does not have network or cable television. She said that reading the news was not nearly the emotional experience as watching it. She said that having no television freed her family from fear and anger. She said that it made it easier to notice the “wonderful world full of good and kindness.”

Our family does not have television either. If we want the news, we read the news. It makes it easier to choose where we want to focus our thoughts and emotions. I have noticed that experiencing something through the written word is much more balanced. It gives me time to think about and consider what is being presented in a way that watching something does not.

If you are finding yourself feeling afraid or angry or uncomfortable with what you are seeing on the news or on social media, follow those who are turning it off.

The die has been cast. No one on either side can see the future. Rather than indulging in feelings of anger or fear, just step aside and wait. Rather than watching how the news presents current events, read about it instead. Give yourself time to think and consider before reacting to the emotions of others. Doing so makes it easier to react kindly and politely. And just like anger and fear, kindness and politeness are contagious—wouldn’t it be great to spread a little of that around!

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