Nicole Bensen

What do you want to let go of?

A little over a month ago I told my husband I was feeling overwhelmed, sad, and anxious. I had just finished reading some news articles, and I was feeling like the world was spinning out of control. As I was saying this out loud I made the decision to take a break from reading and watching the news for 30 days to see how it impacted my mental health.

In the days that followed I quickly realized how often I absent-mindedly grab my phone and swipe right to see my Google cards.

(On Android/my Pixel*, swiping right shows me news and articles they think I’ll like…and by “like”, it could be that I read a news story about a recent ruling, so they show me more about it.)

Scrolling through my cellphone.

And this is coming from someone who ACTIVELY tries to be intentional about scrolling! 

I consciously leave my phone in my pocket when I’m in line at Target in order to practice mindfulness. I turn my phone upside down or leave it in another room, or a drawer when I’m focusing on a work project. When my husband leaves the room to grab a snack and I’m waiting for him so we can catch up on Iron Chef**, I often intentionally do not pick up my phone. 

Anyway, I could go on and on about this, because numbing myself with scrolling is something I actively try to control.

SO, the fact that I was noticing how often I was about to do it was a bit of a surprise to me.

There were two times I caught myself after:

  • Once I opened YouTube on the TV and clicked a news clip about a wildfire, and about 60 seconds into it I yelled, “Oh no!” when I remembered I was doing my “no news experiment”.
  • The other time I was watching Instagram stories, and I clicked on someone’s link (I can’t even remember what it was about now), but it was a news article, and like before, I realized it and just closed it out.

Whew, thanks for letting me confess.

Question Card: "What do you want to let go of?"

Now that I’m at the end of my 30 days I can say anecdotally I feel less anxiety, and I don’t feel I’m missing anything by not reading Google cards, so that is something I plan to continue. With news clips I’m going to try to do a quick check with myself:

“Is this something that is serving a greater purpose?”

Sometimes that answer might be yes, like learning about injustice that I may want to take action on. But often, the answer is no.

So if I can take that simple action of NOT watching news to create better mental health and wellbeing, I’m going to do it.

Are you a news junkie? Does it affect you? Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.

P.S. Did you know small experiments are part of the wellbeing framework I teach? The doors to my on-demand program, Next Level You, are opening in September. Join the waitlist to be the first to know when doors open.

P.P.S. I’m on day 14 of another 30-day experiment. I’ll tell you about it soon!

*Yes, I’m in the minority with my friends, but I’m an Android user, and I LOVE IT!

**Who else is watching Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend???



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