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Look for Good News

happyDo you have that one poisonous friend who seems to THRIVE on delivering bad news? Just like the very first Debbie Downer sketch on SNL (ONLY the first one–you can delete the subsequent ones from your mental file tree). People LOVE giving bad news. They love it. This is because negative information GREATLY empowers the giver and makes them feel important. Why? Because we listen. It affects us. We pay more attention to bad news because it feels more real for some reason. (Also, it’s rude to respond to someone who’s just told you about something terrible with, “…Aaaaaaand?”)

So then what starts to happen? We expect more bad news. When we do that we start to see more bad news. Once we get used to seeing more bad news we begin to actively seek it out. Sunshine is boring to us. You know how younger girls tend to screw the grease-enhanced jerkwads who blow them off rather than the nice guys who show up on time with flowers? That’s how we are with news: the more awful it is, the more we want to get it inside us. And when we build our world view around the idea that we live in this fucked up Matrix of despair, it weighs on us even when we don’t realize it. The response to my recent panic attack post was overwhelming. As I sifted through the comments and emails I received, I felt like I noticed a recurring theme of “I don’t know why but I’ve been getting more panic attacks lately.”  Naturally, I have an unsolicited theory: I think the present “Mondo Apocolypto” P.O.V. in our country is largely to blame, and it’s fired into our faces EVERY DAMN DAY by the tragedy whores of the News Media.

WE GET IT. THERE’S AN ECONOMIC CRISIS. WE’RE IN A DEPRESSION. They even went as far as to inform us, “Hey, remember 2007? We didn’t know it then, but that was a Depression too!” just to make sure that any recent memories were also charred in the magma of  despondency. WAR, DEATH, NATURAL DISASTERS: The manna of the Media. You think all of that blackness running in the background of our emotional desktop isn’t going to have a profound affect on our mental state? OF COURSE IT IS. Yes, it’s important to be informed about the world, but it’s ALSO important to keep in mind that it’s not all horrifying. NEVER forget that news shows and newspapers are run by companies that survive on ad sales driven by ratings, and the best way to achieve that is to keep you shitting in your Dockers so you’ll tune in. (That part’s actually ok. You should’ve gotten rid of the Dockers in ’99.)

It is therefore entirely your responsibility to make yourself feel better. No one’s going to do it for you. That sucks but sometimes you gottta work for things worth having. That is why it is imperative that you do the following: LOOK FOR GOOD NEWS. I know it’s campy and hokey but I believe it to be vital to your emotional survival. You don’t have to go on some kind of doe-eyed Pollyanna bender; just start out by taking five minutes a day to find something about the world to feel good and/or hopeful about. I Googled “happy” and found, a site devoted solely to positive news stories (if you Google “good news” you may accidentally enroll in Bible college). As I tooled around the site, I swear to you I felt better inside–and I’m normally one of those cynical comedian types.

Read good news. Hug a flower. Look at a bunny. Doesn’t matter. Just create a space in your soul for hope. The reality you experience is almost wholly shaped by your perception of it. I’m not saying you have to believe that everything is awesome all of the time, but at least start to open the drapes in your brain and let some light in. Once you do you’ll get addicted to it and you’ll start to see the good in things (a good skill to have). That isn’t New Agey crap, that’s brain science, people! If I said to you, “Hey! Wingtips!” you would start to notice wingtip shoes everywhere and wonder if they were always there or if they coincidentally just started popping up. (I would then ask you why you lived in a 30s gangster movie where wingtips are so plentiful.)

I’d go even further to assert that if the media started reporting that the economy was turning around, people would start to unconsciously make it happen. Tensions would relax and consumer confidence would begin to increase because they would start to look for reasons to do so. I’m not advocating living in denial, but I am saying that there must be SOME good stuff happening. Why can’t we throw some focus on that? It would CERTAINLY help put us back on the right path. Things being as they are, however, that may not happen anytime soon so the onus is on you.

If you try this with some consistency, I guarantee it will ultimately affect you in ways you cannot imagine. It’ll be like pouring smiles on your brain. But be patient! You may not change overnight! A fast-moving plane can’t just flip a bitch–it has to turn into an arc and slowly make its way around to go the other direction. The same is true for your perception. Shape your reality. Don’t be a pawn for the darkness. YOU are in control.  Your brain works for you, not the other way around. Find the good news.

P.S. – I heart you.

Image: Chris Hardwick/Nerdist

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  1. I do believe all the ideas you’ve introduced in your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too brief for beginners. May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent
    time? Thanks for the post.

  2. Tanya says:

    I am one of those persons who focused too much on the negative news. I was down-sized out of an investment management job in ’08. I began watching the market more than I usually had and ingesting every bit of economic news I could find while searching for work. It only served to increase the depression I already had from losing a great job.

    But something happened around mid ’09. The market began gaining steam. Now it is back to the mid-90s level of 11,000. But the economic news hasn’t changed much since ’08. We are told at once that the recession is over but job losses are increasing and more banks are closing. I know that jobs are a lagging indicator for the health of the economy. But if the recession is truly over, why are bank closings cluttering the news? Why are we not told of companies who have managed well during this recession? They are out there – I am interviewing with one tomorrow.

    Your article has given me something else to focus on. There is good news out there. I just need to find it. Thank you and I heart you, too.

  3. Dawn says:

    Thank you chris for using that snazzy ability called common sense and not trying to push a book endorsed by oprah that everyone else seems to want to do. 😀

  4. man says:

    as a buddhist, i have to agree with george carlin’s “FUCK HOPE” mantra.
    my happiness isn’t contingent upon anything.

  5. Kevin Sorbo says:

    and IF we ever run out of good news…?!?

    1. pop in The Goonies, of course, u silly
    2. take a dump.
    3. take a dump while watching The Goonies.

    just a few ways to brighten your day…. you’re welcome.

  6. India says:

    Your blog (especially the advice section) is like pouring smiles on your brain! Please post more and more advice–it resonates with me and clearly many others.

  7. JakeHilfter says:

    Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

  8. Brooke says:

    Fear mongering is nothing new to the media. It’s kinda like licensed games – it’s just too [email protected] easy to make a buck without trying very hard. Hey media, give people actual useful info: Like what state provisions are there if we do lose a job? Where DID all that bailout money go, exactly? Most importantly – who was the best dressed at the Oscars?

  9. RadNerd says:

    “The reality you experience is almost wholly shaped by your perception of it” , this gave me goosbumps btw.

    “A fast-moving plane can’t just flip a bitch” , and this just made me lmao.

    You’re right! people become a product of their own environment.


  10. RadNerd says:

    refreshing! i must share this with my cronies.

  11. LisaG says:

    Is that post above really from Chris’ mom? My heart just grew three sizes from reading that!

  12. mackie says:

    i googled you chris

  13. mackie says:

    cry of the devil

  14. bob says:

    thanks chris for removing that site my douchebag
    friend did it when he was at my house it wasn’t
    mackie it was a person named logan
    :forgot my own email

  15. bob says:

    thanks chris for removing that site my douchebag
    friend did it when he was at my house it wasn’t
    mackie it was a person named logan

  16. Yeah it’s amazing how much people let the bad affect them but they refuse to let the good in. They rather focus on the woman that was murdered than the one that fought off cancer. I might be a little harsh sometimes but sometimes i just tell people to suck it up, things could be worst.

  17. JoeyfromVA says:

    Saw you on Bonnie Hunt today! I used to watch you years ago, but just re-found G4 network!! Awesome stuff you showed today!

  18. Juan says:

    This was a great blog. I always enjoy what you have to say next. It is quite true, sadly, that we have become disaster junkies and Debbie Downers. There is nothing like passing on bad news and making somebody else feel terrible. The link you posted was spot on hilarious and made me feel happy. Coming from a cynical realist like me…. that’s saying something. I like forward, as always, to your next blog.

    P.S. the comments left above by Bob are totally disgusting and should be deleted.

    P.S.S I heart you too

  19. mackie says:

    fuck you bob

  20. bob says:

    don’t go to link posted above

  21. Jason says:

    Thanks Chris and Christa (whoa….what’s going on THERE!) Mr McQueen showed me how to jump barbed wire fences on a motorcycle…I’m planning the rest of my escape now. Wish me luck!

  22. Chris' Mom says:

    Dear Son,
    I love this…it makes me proud! The media has so much power and influence, given them by those who “buy in”. Sure, there were some economic problems, but NOT to the extent that they reported. By creating fear and panic, they managed to scare people so badly that they quit buying goods and services immediately…causing a crash… they were able to make a bad situation catastrophic. The key: DON’T believe everything they report as reality…it is usually not! My best tip: record “I LOVE LUCY” episodes and watch them before bedtime…why(?)… because you will not be able to find even ONE negative event in any of those shows.

  23. missmorningbutton says:

    I think that it is important to be aware of the shitty news too though. We have to know what’s going on in the world so that we can try to fix it as best we can. However that doesn’t mean that we should cry into our cornflakes every morning. A little bit of optimism can go a long way. (and a lot of sugar)

  24. Jaz says:

    Being happy without the aid of pills is something I strive for everyday. Living up in Seattle one has a tendency to wind up in coversation with a blustering butthead expounding sardonically about coffee and “going green”. However for me and my happiness I can easily picture this person living in an orangutan habitat, which makes me smile! Yay for smiles! As Buddy the Elf would say, “Smiling’s my favorite!”

    Speaking of favorites, I had to do a list of things I like that start with the letter N.
    Good times!