Keeping up with the news is a good way to stay informed — but it’s also a pretty effective way to stress yourself out.
So much of what we see in the news today is negative: natural disasters, violence, and polarizing politics.
If you’re feeling drained from it all, you’re not the only one. In fact, more than half of Americans report feeling stressed out from watching the news.
So what’s the antidote? Disengaging from the world completely? Isolating yourself from other people’s lives and problems?
At times, it might be tempting to just turn off the news, curl up on your couch, and forget about the world around you. But if you did that, you’d be cutting yourself off from the good news in the world that, believe it or not, exists among the bad.
Isolating yourself isn’t the solution — in fact, the solution might be just the opposite.
Image via Upworthy/Extra.
Just ask Amy Paffrath, a TV host, actress, and philanthropist who you might recognize from “Jersey Shore: After Hours” and “Dating Naked.” Like most of us, she found herself falling down the bad-news rabbit hole a lot, too.
“I was getting caught in these loops of despair and feeling hopeless about the world, hearing all the negative things that were happening,” says Amy.
Knowing she wasn’t the only one feeling this way, she decided to do something about it: She began hosting “What’s Good?! News.”
“What’s Good?!” — a talk show Amy co-hosts with travel content creator Justin Walter — is a positive, uplifting source for good news.
The idea behind the show is simple: By bringing some positivity to people’s lives, maybe it will help them remember that the world is made up of more than just negativity.
Amy Paffrath and Justin Walter on “What's Good?! News.” Image via Focus TV Network/YouTube.
They feature people on the show who make a positive impact on the world around them, such as Jessica Blotter of Kind Traveler, and amplify positive stories that don’t always make the mainstream news, like Chance the Rapper’s $1 million donation to the Chicago Public School System.
Helping people feel a little less stressed with “What’s Good?!” was how Amy decided to give back to others. But it’s far from the only way.
She recommends that everyone try their own version of what she did, which was channeling her existing skills and passions into something positive.
“You just have to see where your interests lie,” she says. “Use your talents and your gifts, and put your energy toward that.”
Can you write an attention-grabbing social media post? Are you good with kids? Are you a fab event organizer? Whatever your skills and interests, they just might represent your first step toward creating some good news in this world.
Amy on set with Monique Coleman for Extra Chewy Mints. Image via Upworthy/Extra.
Amy also says that you shouldn’t be afraid to start small.
If there’s a cause that’s important to you, but you don’t have a ton of time to donate, that’s OK! Even if volunteering once a month is all you can manage right now, that’s enough — because with that small start, you can find your motivation to keep doing more.
Amy says, for example, that when she performs improv for hospitalized children with an organization called The Art of Elysium, she feels her spirits lift, making her more likely to keep paying positivity forward to others.
Volunteer work helps her build a habit of looking out for others, even in the smallest ways. A gesture as simple smiling at a stranger on the train or sharing a mint with a friend can tap into the positive spirit of giving and receiving.
“It’s just interacting with people in a different way,” Amy says.
If, like Amy, you spend your days surrounded by people making the world a better place, it can become a little easier to shake off the negative impact of bad news.
By helping tell the stories of people who are making life better for those around them, she hopes “What’s Good?!” viewers will learn that when you give to others — even in small ways — you get a whole lot in return.
“People underestimate the power of giving,” Amy says, “and how you don’t do it to get back — but you always receive way more.”
She adds, “It changes your influence on people right around you, and then those people are going to go out and share that energy with even more people.”
If we all pay a little more attention to the good news and pass that positive spirit onto others, then maybe the world won’t seem so terrible after all.
For more from Amy Paffrath on giving to others, check out this video: