Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

February 5, 2018

Is it a good idea to stop reading news?

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 5:40 PM

Earlier today I was browsing the web and ended up on this HackerNews Thread where one of the users had posted the following comment:

I have recently stopped reading any kind of news. As a result I find that my mind is lot less cluttered. I have realized that once you give it up, you don’t really miss it a lot.

This made me think and I was wondering what the benefits are if we stop reading the news and what the downsides are of the same.

A little while ago a lot of the news items from around the world were pretty depressing and I found that if I read my news feed first thing in the morning as I normally did I ended up feeling a bit out of sorts for a while. Not depressed per se but with more of a bleah attitude for a while in the morning. After I figured this out I stopped reading general news first thing in the morning as I figured the issue was caused due to the fact that I was reading the news while half asleep when a lot of my brain was still struggling to wake up making it harder for my usual snark from kicking in. Instead of reading all news first thing in the morning I switched to reading only the tech news feeds early in the morning and then catch up with the world news later in the day (usually in the evening on the way back home). I found that this worked best for me for a while, but after a bit I changed my reading habits again and now I read the news (both tech and general) on the way to work and am fine with it. Plus another good development is that I get out of the house sooner if I am not cocooned in bed catching up with the news. 🙂

So, is it a good idea to stop reading any news? I don’t think so even after my experience. Knowing what is going on in the world is important and shutting yourself off from the world is not an answer. There are a lot of issues in the world and the first step in fixing them is to know about the issues. I mean if you don’t even know a problem exists then how are you going to even think about a solution for it? There is a quote from Isacc Asimov that seems relevant here:

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov

So the question becomes, how do I scrub my windows to the world? The answer is quite simple, read about what is happening in the world. There might be new discoveries, events etc happening that will challenge your thinking and maybe result in a complete change in your thought process. Don’t get put down by the constant negative news in the media. The fact is that it’s not all bad out there and there are good things happening all over the world but that doesn’t sell so the media focuses on the negative aspects to sell paper (or user views etc). Bill Gates wrote about this recently as well. In a recent study folks took 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety) and found that the world is actually getting better inspite of the mess we keep seeing in the news all the time.

All that being said it is quite possible that you end up getting down/depressed after reading & watching so much negative news in the press. This is a normal reaction. John Scalzi who is one of my favorite authors had the following advise on how to deal with this scenario (It was published about a year ago but is still valid):

3. Disconnect (temporarily). Especially now, it might be useful for a “hard reset”: taking a week (or two! Or more!) away from most news and social media in order to give your brain the equivalent of a few deep, cleansing breaths and the ability to switch focus away from the outside world and back into your internal creative life.

It’s often hard to do this — social media in particular is specifically designed to make you feel like if you’re not constantly attached to it then you’re missing something important. But here’s the thing: Even if it were true (which it usually is not), there are millions of other people out there to deal with it while you take a week off from the world to get your head right. Let them.

What are your thoughts about this topic? Do you feel that stopping to read news is a good idea? Let me know via comments below (or via email).

This is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya


  1. Our brain is the most powerful part of our body …Spiritually as well. What ever we read ,listen or experience is stored in sub conscious for ever and that sub conscious drives all our actions (unknowingly). These news media is actually feeding us with this negativity .

    Comment by Piyush Behre — February 6, 2018 @ 12:32 AM

  2. That’s an interesting take. So what you are saying is that once you are exposed to negativity there is *no* way to get rid of it?

    That is hard to swallow for me. Though I do agree with your statement that this negativity in our subconscious drives our actions.

    Comment by Suramya — February 6, 2018 @ 12:46 PM

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