Does the news stress you out?

12.10.03

I consider it a good thing to be informed on what’s going on in the world. But I know a lot of people who choose not to read or watch the news, because it stresses them out too much.

How much? Well, we’re about to find out:

Jewish Montrealers will soon be asked to give saliva to see how stressed they get when they read about the Palestinian-Israeli situation in daily newspapers.

Professors from Carleton University in Ottawa are looking for people willing to stick a cotton ball in their mouth to measure how irate they become while reading stories about this subject. They hope to get about 60 participants.

[ . .. ]

Matheson said she watched her Jewish co-workers’ faces turn red in anger last year as they read stories about the situation in Israel.

“My Jewish colleagues were getting very upset at the news coverage,” she said. She could see their stress levels rise.

I don’t think there’s much doubt as to what the results will show. But then what? Where is the line between healthy stress – getting angry at an injustice and channelling it towards making a change – and unhealthy stress – letting anger over the news take over your life? At what point do we have to shut of CNN and turn on the Simpsons, and just say “enough”?

It might give us an indication if we look at mainstream Israeli society. Israelis have been living with the constant fear of war and terror for decades… and yet the most popular shows on TV are consistently fluff like this. In fact, I probably talk about current affairs or politics the LEAST with my Israeli friends. Our conversations are about much more important things… like scummy boyfriends who don’t return text messages, or the latest episode of Friends.

So while it’s great to be informed, it can get to be a bit much. Every so often, let’s take our cue from the Israelis and just relax… focus on celebrity sightings, magic wands, or politicians’ personal lives.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Hanthala 12.12.03 at 9:48 PM

“So while it’s great to be informed, it can get to be a bit much. Every so often, let’s take our cue from the Israelis and just relax… focus on celebrity sightings, magic wands, or politicians’ personal lives.”

By all means! Maybe then, once the nutcases have stopped their annoying clap-trap, we can get an actual reasoned discussion going. Ta-ta!

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