The importance of noticing the good

The importance of noticing the good

As we are jolted into another year through the broadcasting of terror attacks and devastating world events, it eiffel towerbecomes more evident that we are not immune to the horrors that have been generally associated with distant lands. The globalisation of our world through technology means that we take the good with the bad; however when it comes to reporting, it seems that we are overwhelmed by the bad, and we may even develop an addiction to the negative, and be constantly focused on the negative stories that are so prevalent and repeating in the media. Amongst all of the negative, how much are we noticing the good?

We are confronted more and more by stories and images of sheer horror and the worst of human behaviour, almost to the exclusion of a counter presence, and the good of humanity – the resilience, the bravery, the generosity of spirit and gifts, the kindness, care and friendship, the laughter and joy, the persistence in the ordinariness of life, the valuing of the gift of life and this earth.

Ordinarily, in our daily lives, we can walk down the street and observe the wonder of the natural and man-Londonmade surroundings; we can greet people in the street and we can shop easily for the goods that help to keep us alive; we have access to a health system and dedicated people who support us in times of ill health; we have access to education that equips us with skills to be able to work; we are fortunate that there are many people in professions and trades who provide services that enhance our lives, and creative and spiritual others who inspire us; we are able to worship with others and celebrate rituals that mark significant changes in the lives of families and friends; we can witness the goodness of others through the ways in which they live their lives, and those who struggle valiantly. All of this is the normal state of our lives in this ???????????????????????????????fortunate country. However, when we focus our attention primarily on media reporting, we may notice very little of the wonderful side of people and community, and rather, we may take on high levels of stress related to all the horrors that threaten our lives.

I have heard it stated often that “Good news doesn’t sell.” Surely it’s time to move beyond this, and focus on what is good, just for good-ness sake.

Until we become aware of the benefits or dangers of particular products, we generally continue with our pattern of consumption. However, when we realize the possible harmful effects IMG_2101-e1334713752415of certain products, such as fast food, cigarettes, chemicals and asbestos, our usage of these products diminishes, or is even prohibited, and we lean towards healthier options. When we become more aware of the benefits and dangers of particular products, we make better decisions, which in turn determine what sells in the marketplace. Good food sells, and good health regimes sell, as do other good products, when people realize the benefits to be gained by using the healthier products and regimes.

So what are the health benefits, or otherwise, of news stories?

It has been found that frequent exposure to trauma and trauma stories increases levels of anxiety and stress in individuals, and creates a higher risk of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) [Ref:]

It is little wonder that anxiety, depression and suicide have escalated dramatically when we realise the level of exposure that people now have to technology and news streams. If we are ever to turn this around, we will need to stop ‘buying’ or buying into the constant bombardment of traumatic and distressing news, and place greater focus on the good news stories. Like anything in the marketplace, if the demand becomes great enough, change begins to take place, and so good news stories would sell, and may be even become the lead stories for the day! Viewers and listeners would not only reap the health benefits, but would be further encouraged to notice more good in the world.

If good news stories were to take a more prominent place in our viewing and our focus, our awareness of the dangers that are present around us do not become diminished. After all, we have learned about many possible dangers that face us daily (electricity, water situations, driving a car to name just a few) but we do not focus constantly on these. We also remain mindful of the many, and more harmful products that are still readily available in the marketplace but are no longer desirable for our consumption, at least at former levels.

When we remove ourselves from the constant negative reporting of domestic and world events, we are in a better position to notice the good in our world, yet we are still able to reflect on ways to improve distressing and harmful situations.

Surely we have a greater chance of bringing about wider applications of good in the world when our focus is more tuned in to goodness; after all, what we focus on, we draw more into our focus.babies

Rather than setting action goals for 2015, I have chosen to focus on values that are essential for community and global cohesion: Respect, Tolerance, Compassion, and Kindness – and to notice more stories that contain these values.

Let’s hope that soon it will be the case that “Good news stories do sell.”


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