When you’re younger, you eat pizza and taco chips by the fistful and chase ‘em down with a gallon of Root Beer. You think a balanced diet is a piece of pizza in each hand. Your dad says, “Be careful. Obesity just snacks right up on you.” You get older, you find out he was right. Sugar rots your teeth and goes straight to your love handles. White bread and sugary drinks clog your arteries. And now, I was reading an article that says certain combinations of veggies are bad for you. So are nightlights. Alarm clocks, skinny jeans, neckties and antibacterial soap. I didn’t read to the end because I realized the article was bad for me. It spawned fear and paranoia. They can snack right up on you too.

A headline caught my eye. “News is bad for you—giving up reading it will make you happier.” It was on a site that makes its money publishing news. The author, Rolf Dobelli, makes some interesting points. Here are just four.

  1. News is irrelevant. Dobelli asks, out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last year, could you name one that allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, career or business?
  2. News is toxic to your body. Panicky stories spur the release of glucocorticoids. High levels of the stuff cause impaired digestion, lack of growth, nervousness, fear, aggression, and desensitization. Ouch.
  3. News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. The concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you in short snippets.
  4. News wastes time. If you watch or read the news for 15 minutes each morning, 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, tally up the distraction and refocusing time, you lose at least half a day every week. Dobelli says, “I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie.”

What do you think?

For years the news was the last thing I did before going to sleep. And since the stories were overwhelmingly about things I couldn’t influence, it stressed me out and plundered my joy. Like eating junk food, a steady diet of scandal, slander and disaster saps our strength. But the truly important things are almost never covered on the news. They are slow, powerful movements of God that develop below journalists’ radar.

Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Or, if you’re feeling great, you’re content and thankful, and happy and well-adjusted—and you don’t like it, you can always go and read the evening news.

Phil Callaway, host of Laugh Again