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Spring Clean Your Bad Media Habits

SunKiss Life - April Edition

Welcome to our monthly round-up series of inspiring and insightful stories from our webzine, SunKiss Life.

Your bad habits may not “lead to late nights endin’ alone or staring into space” as for Ed Sheeran ... but are they preventing you from feeling happy?

Although our genes, circumstances, and various activities obviously interact and influence one another, research estimates that roughly 40% of your happiness depends on the habits you repeat daily!

This suggests that it’s possible to take deliberate steps to get happier and to stay happier in life. By engaging in healthy mental and physical habits, you can exert a lot of control over your own happiness.

At a time of what appears to be a never-ending stream bad news, we focus on how to spring clean some bad media habits.

Is Being Right Always Right?

Speaking of the news, have you ever had a conversation with an ultracrepidarian? A “know-it-all” person who criticises, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise. The word is not officially recognized, but comes from Latin, by the union of two words: ultra ‘going beyond’ and crepidarius ‘shoemaker’, which in turn refers to the crepida ‘sandal’.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance

Those are the words of Confucius, and today’s psychologists are agreeing with him. Intellectual humility means recognizing that your beliefs may be inaccurate or misguided and cultivating this type of humility can help you learn and build better relationships. Let’s face it! Would you rather have a conversation with someone who is a custodian of the absolute truth, or with someone who is open to considering different perspectives?

So next time you feel right about something you heard on the news, you might want to stop and ask yourself “could I be wrong”?

Doom Scrolling Anyone?

Are you like many of us a victim of a doom scrolling habit? There is a temptation to relentlessly scroll through the bad news hoping for light at the end of the tunnel but focusing on bad news is not good for you.

According to a recent study on doom scrolling published in ‘Technology, Mind, and Behavior’, this compulsive phenomenon may start as an innocent, information-seeking tool, but can quickly spiral into a habitual, self-reinforcing pattern that steals our time and makes us unhappy.

If you can relate, don’t be so hard on yourself and offset the gloom with some important advice on how to decompress from doom scrolling.

Coping With Bad News

So, you’ve got a handle on doom scrolling, but still, it may seem like the entire world is falling apart and that’s a lot for anyone to take in and process. With the constant barrage of bad news, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and a sense of powerlessness!

We’re hardwired to read the worst into bad news and often leap to unhelpful assumptions, leaving us in a state of dread and despair. The good news is that we can choose peace, but it must begin from within. No matter what is happening in the outside world, we can be calm in the chaos as our inner world is the only world, we truly have control over. Learn how to stay resilient from the experts over at Positive News.

What You Can Learn from Your Pets

Chances are that your pets are not suffering from media doom and gloom, so why should you? In his book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, a highly acclaimed guide to stress (for humans) Robert Sapolsky highlights the differences in how we experience stress compared to other species.

The title of the book alludes to the idea that while other species such as zebras might experience momentary stressors like running from a predator, they generally do not experience chronic stress like us. This is related to their propensity to live in the present moment and being happier for it. Animals maybe onto something …

Photo by Birger Strahl, Unsplash

The Power of Music

One way to relieve our stress is to focus on the moment, and a good way to do this is through music. To aid relaxation and reduce stress in everyday life try listening to harmonically predictive instrumental music with a regular pulse. This Spotify playlist, prepared by music therapist Hilary Moss with help from Dr Liz Coombes from University of South Wales and colleagues at the University of Limerick, might help to calm you furrowed brow after scrolling through the latest news.

Share your tips on spring cleaning bad media habits with #SunKissLife - we love hearing from you :)


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