There should be a book titled "The Power of Negative Thinking." The American people are constantly living on the edge. We are so stressed that we are unaware of the amount of in-your-face anxiety that we are force fed by the media. Television newscasters always have "breaking news" to report. This highly emotional reporting can be about the possibility of severe dangerous weather that may approach our area, or Kim Jong-un firing what may or may not be a nuclear weapon. Am I the only one who noticed that once the tragedy at the Boston Marathon occurred, not a peep was said about North Korea? Did that threat just disappear?
We are at a point in time when we have to pick our battles and decide individually what we really want to worry about.
A mass murder in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school became one of our worst moments as Americans. The so-called nurse refusing to perform CPR on an unconscious resident at the Glendale Gardens Independent Living Facility in Bakersfield, Calif., had my brain in an uproar. Former coach Mike Rice's behavior toward Rutgers University basketball players made my stomach turn. North Korea had all of us on edge for many days. Then, we were all stunned when two explosive devices were detonated at the Boston Marathon.
The terrible fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas, became yet another event to add to the list. What's next? It all adds up to an emotional toll that most people are unable to handle.
Problems like the economy, unemployment, illness and struggling family relationships are more than enough to try and cope with in this day and age. As an experienced psychiatric nurse, my advice is to take a deep breath and not let the powerful negative thinking put us into stress overload. Do a good deed for another person. Laugh more. Smile often. Say "please" and "thank you" when possible.
The broadcasters on TV grab our attention over and over and over again. This reporting has made me personally unable to properly process what I am seeing and hearing. Being able to grasp mentally and emotionally some of these newsworthy stories is quite difficult. For example, a headline on an April 19 Associated Press brief in The Press read, "Venezuela: Protesters eaten during crackdown." The horrors of cannibalism? It made perfect sense to me. I was almost disappointed once I read the article to learn that the headline was a mistake, and "eaten" should have been "beaten."
A few times during the week of the marathon bombing, our local newscast focused on Boston for nearly the entire 30 minutes. Sports and weather were the other featured news stories. When the national news came on, another 30 minutes was spent on the Boston tragedy. I felt it necessary to leave the room and busy myself with other projects. Watching the news on TV is a choice.
Being informed on local, national and world events is important on many levels. Whether the news is good or bad, it is a bond that unites us and allows us to empathize with our fellow man. But perhaps the TV networks should attempt to tone it down and not try so hard to "sell" the stories they report. It is almost an insult to our intelligence to have them repeat the same thing numerous times to get their point across.
It makes me very sad as a member of our society to continually hear about so many horrific events. In my heart, I know the truth is that so many people are doing wonderful and heartwarming acts of kindness for others in their lives.
Citizen Columnist Joan Mahon, of Villas, has been a registered nurse for 37 years.
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