Here’s How To Use The News To Make Yourself Happier (Yes, Really)

While your first inclination might be to roll your eyes, it’s true: there’s still a whole lot of positive news in the world.  I know it can sound naive and overly optimistic to say this, especially in a global moment where news headlines show us moving closer to conflict and farther away from harmony.  Balance can feel hard these days, but when you take a step back and frame it correctly, the way you watch the news can actually be beneficial to your health and happiness. Yes, really.  

Consider it: we’re all aware on some level that news has a huge impact on our mood, which science confirms.  So why can’t we harness that relationship and make it work for us in a positive way?  The first step to hacking your daily news consumption is finding some reliable, positive sources to help get your day started.  The good news is (pun definitely intended), feel-good news is not at all hard to find if you know where to look.

First off, it’s crucial that whatever source you choose, you make a plan to read it in the morning.  Usually turn on CNN when you’re getting ready for work? Here’s a chance for a little positive adjustment. (Don’t worry: the regular breaking news will still be on the radio in the car and on your desktop homepage at work.  This is all about timing, not about shielding yourself from world news and events.)

According to Psychology Today, despite personal preferences, it may be better for us to hear good news first and negative news later. While we tend to want to finish on a positive note, it turns out that getting good news first bolsters you with a little happiness and better prepares you to react to the bad news.  This goes back to the basic idea that a little bit of discomfort can be a positive thing, and it can also maximize your ability to take action – something that makes you feel happier and more fulfilled long-term.

commuters on their phones
Starting your day with good news could be key to higher levels of happiness and productivity

In the short-term though, regularly planned exposure to good news has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in a major way.  In one study on military marriages (which face their own unique set of stressors), researchers found that when one spouse shares good news, “the recipient of information is actively happy for [them]” and thus “it heightens the positive experience for both parties.”  While sharing good personal news varies a bit from sharing positive global news, the underlying principle is the same: the exchange of good news triggers an empathetic response making both parties feel happier, which in turn reduces the physical symptoms of stress.

To reiterate, this is about balance.  I’m not advocating for hiding in your basement all day and binge-watching exclusively military homecoming dog videos (but one or two won’t hurt).  The way the world is set up, you’re likely going to get a baseline exposure to headline news on a daily basis without even seeking it out – and staying informed is really valuable.  What isn’t valuable, however, is getting so burned out on negative emotions that it starts to impact your wellbeing.

happy guy in office
This guy clearly got his good news in this morning.

Priming your day with happy news stories and positive psychology is all about maximizing your energy and your mood so you’re better equipped to address what you need to when negative news does arise, and more productivity means greater satisfaction.  Happy now, happy later: sounds like a win/win.

Here are our favorite feel-good picks to get you started:

Team of surfers put their hands in the middle

Good News Network

Around since 1997, GNN has been delivering positive news stories to the world “as an antidote to the barrage of negativity” in mainstream media.  It boasts the top spot on Google, due to its longevity, and you’ll find everything from uplifting business news to heartfelt personal stories.

golden retriever holds Boston Strong signs at Boston Marathon

Tank’s Good News

Originally known for his viral Instagram memes, “Tank Sinatra,” aka George Resch, believes in making people smile – so he started Tank’s Good News to get the world in on a little bit of his #relentlessoptimism.

gymnast Katelyn Ohashi dances during a floor routine

Sunny Skyz

With the tagline “live, laugh, love,” it’s clear Sunny Skyz values all things lighthearted.  Created as an online news outlet in 2012, the site’s goal is to “promote love, laughter and kindness,” whether through cat memes or more “traditional” inspiring stories.

In the meantime, spread a little joy yourself. Get Inspired here:

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