Why I'm taking a break from doomscrolling global news this Lent: Bird Lovegod

It’s Lent, the 40 day run-up to Easter, 40 days being a frequently occurring timespan in the Bible. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert after his Holy Spirit Baptism, and there’s 40 days from his resurrection to ascension.

It’s traditional for Christians to give something up during Lent, and this year I’ve given up mainstream media. Again.

Specifically, the BBC news website, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the Independent.

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I still dabble in The Yorkshire Post of course, and in doing so, have realised the decency of it, the lack of political bias and agenda. It’s also made me more aware of my own tendency towards that in some of the articles I’ve previously written, for which I apologise and repent of.

Bird Lovegod has his sayBird Lovegod has his say
Bird Lovegod has his say

Several people have asked me what it's like, giving up news, as if it’s something radical and unfathomable.

The best description I can offer is that it’s like stopping drinking poison 20 times a day.

I was addicted to checking these websites, not to gather information, but to experience the chemical response of them within myself. They induce stress, irritation, anger, frustration…

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They were also a place I would go to when feeling these emotions. And thus the unvirtuous cycle perpetuated.

I’m starting to realise it’s totally unnatural and completely unnecessary to expose oneself to mass media in this way. It’s genuinely toxic. Really toxic.

Never in human existence have we, until the last 20 years or so, been in a position to absorb vast amounts of threat based words and images from around the world on an addicted whim.

Personally, I don’t feel consciously threatened by anything, global warming, the economy, wars, yet even so, by consuming it as media the instinctive unconscious response is flight or fight or freeze.

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For me it was always fight, which often became anger at the world and humanity. Which made it harder to love people, which made it harder to live in Christian compassion. Those websites were poisoning me spiritually. I'm appalled at that and I’m never going to go back to them.

Instead, I’m enjoying playing chess, and being peaceful, and listening to Christian brilliance from the likes of AW Tozer on Audible, and just living in the presence of Christ, which is in fact the most pleasing and addictive and miraculous experience of all.

I’m no longer angry, and nor am I fearful, and this peace, this deep and real peace, is a vast blessing. I’m convinced the cure for so much anxiety and emotional suffering is to stop taking the addictive poison that causes it.

I really encourage you to follow me in this, to take a 40 day break from mainstream media, from the BBC, from your national newspaper apps and websites. There’s nothing to be gained from these media, nothing except provocation, stress, prejudice, and disquiet.

There is no peace there, no satisfaction.

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And as for knowing what’s going on, you will still pick up from the world that which you need to know, as well as much of that which you don’t.

In any case, there’s nothing to be gained from a ten times a day reminder of global affairs you have no power to influence.

Bird Lovegod is a business consultant and Christian commentator

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