A Minnesota-based fitness chain, Life Time, with 130 gyms in 27 states axed cable news from its large-screen TVs this month in an effort to provide a healthier environment to their customers. The gyms banned both left- and right-leaning news stations, including CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. However, patrons will still be able to watch local news, along with non-political cable stations like USA, A&E, ESPN, Discovery, and HGTV.
Life Time gyms give cable news the boot
According to Natalie Bushaw, a Life Time spokeswoman, numerous member requests over time sealed the fate of the cable news networks. She noted the decision is “in keeping with our overall healthy way of life philosophy and commitment to provide family-oriented environments free of polarizing or politically charged content.” While some members applauded the cable news removal, describing the negativity of the news as tough to escape in the day-to-day world, others accused the company of censorship.
Why do a digital detox?
Wherever you stand on the gym’s policy, taking a self-imposed break from the high-intensity news cycle – and social media in general – is good for your mental health. Just imagine giving up your smartphone for a minute – you know that minute – when you scroll relentlessly (and mindlessly) through your newsfeed without recalling what you just read. Without that fix, could your thoughts be clearer and less frazzled? Would you be less anxious or depressed? How about having more time and energy to focus on the positive changes you wish to make in your life – rather than dwelling on the negative patterns or blocks? The average American, after all, checks her phone 46 times a day. Think of all those minutes you would regain doing something that doesn’t leave you feeling agitated or distressed.
How do you digitally detox?
From successful entrepreneurs to weekend retreats, many people and organizations tout the benefits of a digital detox these days – and for good reason. Studies show that negative information affects you more acutely than positive information, so why not do what you can to tune out the bad and go with the good?
Productivity expert Tim Ferriss advocates what he calls a low-information diet, where he unplugs in order to get out of the habit of “compulsive reactivity” to free up creativity and restore energy.
Instead of obsessively checking your newsfeed, choose to savor quiet time and focus on personal growth, mindful activity, creativity, and community. Specifically, try: meditation, creative endeavors, or even unfocusing to tap into greater possibilities. You may just find yourself with less anxiety, stress, depression, and information overload – and with more gratitude, resilience, and happiness.