You’re grounded. No electronics for a couple of days!

Do the winter months have you in a funk? Do the cold mornings feel cold to your core? Does it seem like the sun rarely is out? I’m not a meteorologist, nor am I a magician who can change the weather. Rather, I’m a realist and mortician who spends most of my day dealing with grief. Grief in simple terms is a multifaceted response to loss; which is someone or something of value. But is it really the weather that’s getting us down, or is it the constant barrage of negativity or depressing situations that flood our lives every moment? Sure, every generation has had their share of disasters, but today’s world has one big difference. It’s called the Internet. We are drawn to disaster.

Let’s think about the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was an extremely tense time as our country was on the brink of a military confrontation with Russia. But back then, you would have had to adjust your rabbit ears on the TV to catch updates or read tomorrow’s newspaper. Today the news loves to suck us in by scaring the pants off of us. Rarely will you find heart-warming stories on the news. Instead, it’s tragedy after tragedy. Heck, it’s not Fake News, its terrifying news! Just in the last month alone the headlines are meant to scare the hell out of us to get our attention. We are at the brink of World War III as the Iran confrontation is escalating. China’s Coronavirus could become an epidemic that could kill millions. The impeachment process and trade war with China is going to collapse the economy and could lead to a depression. Yikes, is the sky really falling??

Well, here’s the difference from the past, the Internet. We are overloaded with instantaneous drama. I’m as guilty as the rest of us. For it is us that have created the media frenzy because we search the bad news out. It follows us. We wake with it while sipping our coffee, we get updates from our co-workers and friends, and we top it off with a little nightly news for good measure. Thankfully if we didn’t get our daily dose, we always have our handy cell phone that can give us play by play of anything our heart desires. We simply cannot get a break. Drama and tragedy have encompassed our everyday life as it is offered to us through a multitude of mediums. So what is the big deal, you ask? It is what it is, right? It’s reality, right?

The problem is that it can desensitize our feelings and create overwhelming emotions. Politics is a great example of this. A couple of years ago, our political parties ramped up their attacks on each other. In the beginning, it was rather surprising and caught your eye. Today, we simply shake our heads and expect nothing less. With the war on terrorism, we were terrified of the thought of ISIS kidnapping and torturing someone. Now, we are numb to it to the point it is expected.

Unfortunately with constant dramatic stimulus, it builds up, while continually eating away at our psyche and spirit. It can lead to anxiety, mood swings, depression, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of us have enough drama, loss, and grief in our daily lives. We don’t need to go looking for more!!

Thankfully, there is something we can do about it. Stay off the computer and turn the tv off. I know, easier said than done. It is just like everything else, balance. Everything in moderation is ok. If politics gets your dander up, don’t watch that part of the news; especially when you are looking for some topic to trip your trigger. If news about the Middle East scares you, don’t look for stories on it. When we get down in the dumps, sometimes we seek more sadness as strange as that sounds. But how about using that time to bring something new and exciting in your life. We are so blessed in the Midwest to have so much beauty surrounding us. Take up State Park hiking, bird watching, woodworking, exercising, or even learning to play a musical instrument. The point is, use your time wisely. How about spending quality time with family or friends! There’s so much life can offer, find it, and live it!!

Comment on how you will spend your days?

Mike O’Connell

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