I grew up with Good Morning America blaring in the background while I got ready. My mom loved Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson. I don’t think I really ever paid attention to the stories they were covering; I just remember they were adorable and it was a way of life. I guess I have always been obsessed with seeing the weather forecast, and I think since the beginning of TV, it’s been showcased at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour. So at 6:55 and 7:25, I would anxiously await the meteorologist’s prediction, so I’d know whether recess would be kickball or Seven Up, whether my tennis match would go on as planned, and whether band practice would be inside or out. You know, the crucial details.
When I went to college, my roommates must have preferred the Today Show because at some point I said farewell to Joan and Charlie and became acquainted with Matt and Katie. Loved Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. I started to become a little more engaged in their stories and even paid attention to what Ann had to say in her more in-depth coverage of world news. Al Roker had my heart, and I loved when he would throw it to the local guy to let us know what was happening “in our neck of the woods.” The Today Show was a regular part of my mornings throughout college and as I transitioned into the real world. Living in Charlotte and working for one of the world’s largest consulting firms, I felt that I needed to demonstrate thoughtful awareness of current events so as to engage in meaningful dialogue with my clients and peers. At 22, you’ve got to know a lot or fake it.
Shortly after I graduated and began working in uptown Charlotte, 9/11 happened. Like everyone else, I’ll never forget the horror and heartbreak I felt watching footage that day. Since 9/11, there have been a host of events that have lain so heavily on my heart. School shootings top the list of events that I have trouble even thinking about other than to pray for the families impacted and then try to move forward with my day. Since the start of the millennium, our country has been fighting a very long set of wars, and I get so emotional thinking about- let along seeing footage of- military families reuniting or worse, not reuniting.
In 2004, I left consulting to take a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative, my dream job. I couldn’t even believe I got paid to visit different places each day and talk to people about products that I truly believed in and knew could improve patients’ lives. I got to be the Allegra rep for Heaven’s sake! It was too good to be true. I kept up my routine of applying my makeup and selecting my outfits while Matt and Katie, and then Matt and Meredith, and then Matt and Ann, and then Matt and Savannah, and then the whole host of Good Morning America hosts (because I couldn’t take the Today Show drama anymore and had to make the switch back) provided my background noise. Then one day it hit me. Starting my day with negative news was doing nothing other than starting my day off with negativity. It’s not rocket science, is it? Why had this never occurred to me?
One thing I know about myself is that I am prone to experiencing what I call “the blues.” I’ve always believed I am more apt to feel down in the dumps about things I can’t control than most other people. Over the past year, I have made a conscious effort to NOT watch the news. I changed my landing page from Yahoo to Google because even Yahoo has more news that I am interested in knowing about. I don’t get the paper and if it’s available at a coffee shop, you’ll find me searching for the Living section for happy news about weddings and entrepreneurs starting exciting new businesses. I have come to realize that the vast majority of what is happening that is negative is completely out of my control. Since no news is good news, I subscribe to the theory that if it’s bad enough that I need to know about it, someone will tell me. Sometimes I worry that my customers and my friends may think I’m not pensive or well-versed in the news of the moment; but then again, no one needs me to be the dark spot in their day either. I feel certain I haven’t lost any sales (or friends, for that matter) because I didn’t come in with the latest negative news from Wall Street or the Middle East. I even believe there are people who appreciate my positivity. There are worse things than being perky, right?
Here are 3 suggestions if you are looking to replace your morning news fix with an activity that may be healthier for your mental well-being:
1) Watch (or listen) to a motivational Ted Talk or some other positive video on YouTube. Also, I love anything by Zig Ziglar. Some people may think it’s cheesy but I love him and his book See You at the Top
and his DVD series Born To Win: The Ultimate Seminar.
2) Listen to whatever music would work best for your morning- something calm and soothing if you need to be Zen or something that pumps you up for your day, like 90s rap if you’re headed in to make a presentation. (90s rap is super motivating to me; you may feel otherwise.)
3) Meditate. Be silent. Look outside and try to catch the sunrise. (I know, I’m not up that early either!) Enjoy your coffee. Appreciate the fact that you woke up and have the ability to choose your mood for the day. It’s a pretty awesome opportunity!
I think the only thing I have missed by keeping the TV turned off is seeing my beloved weather forecasts. I have been simply winging it when it comes to packing rain gear and deciding whether or not to flatiron my hair. But let’s be honest… how accurate is the forecast really? And as a friend recently showed me, you can follow Brad Panovich on Twitter to get the latest scoop!
So I’m curious. Do you have a job that requires you to engage regularly in conversations about newsworthy topics? Where do you get your information? Who do you follow on Twitter? What Ted Talks can you share that inspire you?