In Search of Good News

As of late I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of bad news coming from all over the world. I’m losing sleep over it. Certainly, one could say “At least you’re not losing your life.”. Which, of course, is true. My mere discomfort is really nothing to complain about. I am not alone, however. In this world of fast paced information we can be bombarded with news of mayhem all day long from all corners of the earth. Studies are showing that it is actually affecting our psyche. From a study posted on Medical News Today, it has been proven that watching news on a traumatic event can cause “negative stress reactions or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)” in some people (20% of 89 participants). Dr. Ramsden, who conducted the study, concluded:

Acts of violence erode our sense of security and create intense feelings of anger, fear and helplessness. Watching these events and feeling the anguish of those who are directly experiencing them can impact on a certain percentage of individuals causing longer lasting effects.

This is not the only study out there. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs in the United States have posted information on their website about PTSD from Media Coverage, what it is, the symptoms and how to deal with it. Imagine, then, the number of stressed, angry, disenchanted, frustrated, fearful people there are in North America alone. Let’s stretch Dr. Ramsden’s study (probably not scientifically sound but let’s do it anyway) to incorporate 20% of 600 million people…that’s a lot of stressed out people! How do you think that affects our communities and society as a whole? Is negative news actually self-propagating?

So this started me thinking. Surely there must be something positive happening somewhere or the world would implode in disaster. I know that in many bad news stories there’s often something that comes out of it that’s positive. For instance a story of a good samaritan, extraordinary bravery, community charity or cooperation, the development of a new law or a leap in medical advances. So I tried surfing the usual news channels for a “happy” news story and came up with very little. Then I discovered the Good News Network but was quickly informed that I’d have to pay for good news. Gee. Bad news is free. Well, now it’s a challenge but I’m up for it. I need a change of scenery, to stop and smell the roses…whatever you want to call it. Do you think an infusion of positive news, at least enough to counterbalance the bad news, might change our outlook, our daily lives, our communities, and perhaps the behaviour of society? I think maybe it might.

So, just to get the ball rolling, I found an article in today’s Globe and Mail on two promising new breast cancer drugs. Studies have found that pertuzumab and afinitor both slow the progression of breast cancer in women who have very advanced cases and have proven to be very safe with only a few moderate side-effects if taken individually. The reaction of doctors?

You don’t see that very often … It’s a spectacular result! ~ Study leader, Sandra Swain, medical director of Washington Hospital Center’s cancer institute

What’s your good news of the day?

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More: How the News Impacts Your Health and What you Can Do About it

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11 thoughts on “In Search of Good News

  1. It is actually a sad fact that bad news sells. All publishing companies know this. But then, when we think long and hard, we are responsible for this situation too. People feed on trauma and drama. Only when the masses demand changes, will the content of news change. If we can discern right now, there has been a great shift in human consciousness of late. The major event of 2011 is the rise of a new paradigm … one which speaks of self-empowerment and it is spreading all over the world. Dictators and heads of corporations who lack integrity are falling like flies. That I believe … is the best news I have heard in a very long time. Agree?

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    1. Thank you for your insightful comment, Passion for Truths. I agree that bad news sells and we, the consumers, are partially responsible. People do seem to have a horrid fascination with death and destruction. However, I have also witnessed the opposite. People loving stories of happiness, love, and triumph in the face of adversity. It is very possible that these kinds of stories are more difficult to find but is anyone really looking? As for the new wave of self-empowerment. Yes. I cautiously agree that it is good news. However, while we celebrate the fight for freedom and integrity, we also have to remember that many people have died for that freedom and will continue to. When the world steps in to help their fellow humans, despite political agendas, then the news will be very good indeed.

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  2. First of all Isobel I want to thank you for honoring me as a Syrian by displaying Free Razan Ghazzawi’s poster on your blog. Razan, in addition to being one of the most courageous and outspoken women in the world, is a dear and personal friend and I terribly miss her by our side.
    I have to also thank you for this excellent post. You have no idea how close to home it hit. The psychological effects of bad news can never be overestimated. I, like billions, am experiencing them firsthand. I can feel the heavy toll on my children and on everyone around me including myself. After 9 months of increasing daily doses of violent local news and although I live in the relative safety of a calm area we have all become short tempered and more prone to anger than ever before.
    You are Good News though and I always leave your blog with a huge smile in my heart.

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    1. Abufares, Razan has been on my mind continually. Although I can’t say I know her personally, I know from her writings that she is a very strong advocate for human rights. She is a great humanitarian. I have the highest respect for her and I hope with all my heart that she will be released soon.

      I have been following, closely, the news from Syria. I know that it must be so difficult to see your fellow Syrians dying and the country being divided with people turning against each other. On the other hand, it must also be inspiring to see the strength of people standing for what they believe in and not being deterred by violence.

      I’m glad you were here as always and I hope I can continue to make you smile.

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      1. I just realized that I was supposed to pitch in with some good news. Ok here it is: We shall prevail 🙂 No matter how long it’ll take, we’re gonna kick ass.

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  3. It is true that in this Negative Tail Spin we forget to see the gestures of kindness and the success stories that do surround us. I do not know when it happened, but it does seem that GOOD news is no longer NEWS. For so called Good news – all we get is tabloid like things, fluff and gossip about hollywood and royalty and other non relevant articles (since when is Justin Beiber CNN news worthy?). So kudos for your post. I will add two links of GOOD NEWS networks I have discovered thanks to my status “Please share a good news story” on FB … here they are:
    http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
    and
    http://www.happynews.com/

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    1. Thanks, Sonja. I agree that a lot of “good news” tends to be fluffy. We clearly have to do some digging for something substantial. However, like I said, I’m up to the challenge and I know you are! 🙂 I was dissappointed to find that the Good News Network charges money to read their news. I will have a look at Happy News and am optimistic about what I’ll find there! So glad you dropped by to comment.

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      1. I should also mention that some of the best and most exciting positive news I’ve found has been on the National Geographic website (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/). Although much of it is scientific based, it’s fascinating and celebrates the beautiful world around us. Their byline is “Inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888”. That’s what we want, isn’t it?

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  4. I think we all deserve to have good news always.
    In Spanish, the word for news is noticia. My brother used to anchor a TV newscast and he invented a section called SI-TICIAS, reserved only for good news. He was “playing” with the apparently “negative” word NO-TICIAS and making it a “positive” word (si=yes).
    Thanks for getting me back this little memory of my brother. That’s my today good news!

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    1. What a wonderful memory, Gabriela. I love your brother’s idea and I wish it was implimented on more news channels. My hope is to bring more good news from now on, Gabriela. I think we call can use it.

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