Blog with Joel Brookman

Media Exposure

Assume you are a huge football fan. Your team is playing and you are completely consumed. You watch every minute of the game. They end up losing in the final minute and you are in a bad mood for the rest of the day. If you didn’t watch the game but caught the highlights afterwards, the impact on your mood would have been dramatically less. What was different? Your exposure. When you watched the whole game you got emotionally involved, you lived the experience moment by moment.

During the great recession in 2008, the stock market was experiencing tremendous volatility. Imagine being in a business where your livelihood is tied to that roller coaster. Not only must you accept responsibility for your own investments, you take on that pressure for hundreds of your clients as welI. Now imagine tuning into the drama and rhetoric and living it minute by minute, much as you would if your were watching your game. In 2008, I spent every work day with financial advisors. I realized there was a big difference between those who had CNBC on all day, and lived it moment by moment, and those that did not. Those that had it on tended to be down, they lost their perspective. They simply got sucked into that negativity. The vast majority of market related news was bad and the constant repetitive barrage was emotionally draining. Those that kept the TV off faired far better. They only saw the highlights instead of being sucked into every moment. There was a direct correlation to the advisor’s emotional state and exposure they had to the media. There was a huge benefit for those that controlled their media exposure.

The biggest contributor to media negativity is the news. We have 24 hour, continuous access to witness the worst atrocities on the planet. It should surprise no one that multiple studies concluded that participants exposed to negative news programs reported significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression after their media exposure.

So what is the solution? Do you simply cut yourself off from news altogether? Perhaps. If major news events take place, someone will tell you. If that’s not realistic, simply be smart about your media exposure. Hearing the same negative stories over and over has no benefit. Getting bad news just prior to going sleep means your subconscious mind may be digesting it all night. Negativity immediately upon waking in the morning is not a great way to start your day. Between news aggregation services, podcasts, the endless array of smartphone apps and programs, you can certainly find a way to keep up with world developments without being consumed by them.
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Posted by Joel Brookman in eliminate negativity.


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