Recent history has shown that a lot of media is plagued with fake news and “alternative facts” which have led the current Pope Francis to urge media outlets to not only post true news but happier news as well. Addressing journalists at the Catholic church’s annual communications day on Tuesday, Francis urged the media to focus less on scandal and bad news and instead to focus on positive stories that inspire hope.
He emphasized that he wasn’t asking the journalists to “ignore the tragedy of human suffering” or naively turn a blind eye to evil. But he stated that the constant negative news can lead to apathy and resignation among the people.
We previously crowned Pope Francis as the Fittest Religious Leader in the World because of his continued positive impact on the world (we even named why he’s fitter than you in this article). HFR Institute founder Samir Becic says of the Pope: “No other religious/spiritual leader has made such a positive impact in the world in less than 4 years. Having one lung removed as a teen, and living since then with solely a singular lung, the 80-year old is a testament that living a healthy lifestyle can overcome many odds. He clearly demonstrates that his surgery did little to hamper his ability to live a full and active life. Regardless of this obstacle, he continues to spread a tremendous spiritual health message worldwide that is influencing people regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs” Becic continues “Pope Francis is a great example of how a healthy body, an active mind, and a giving heart can truly influence the world we live in.”
Whether you prefer to stay updated by watching news channels or read up on a convenient news app, you may have noticed that most of the information conveyed is upsetting- and consistently at that. Studies actually show that negative news can influence negative psychological emotions that can not be alleviated by small or mediocre distractions. Over time, absorbing ‘bad news’ can create what is psychologically known as ‘learned helplessness.’ Research also shows that content of news affects more than just a person’s mood- it also affects behavior. Consistently receiving negative messages can trigger stress hormones that are responsible for anxiety-ridden short fuses. Negative news images are also responsible these pessimistic mood effects. When confronted with violent or negative images, we’re likely to internalize these harmful stimuli, which can in turn cause or contribute to a range of adverse mood and/or behavior changes.
The best way to alleviate or prevent the harmful effects of negative media is to modify some of the content. Instead of exposing the public to gloomy and pessimistic news, the media should focus on outweighing the bad news with positive news. Despite what the headlines convey, quality of life has actually increased for millions of people; especially in western society. Regardless of who’s fighting for headlines, the media should echo these truths.
Also, if you want to follow in Pope Francis’ footsteps, read our article about the Top 10 Health and Fitness Tips From Pope Francis.