The Age of Outrage: What It’s Doing to Our Health

Stressors

The media was created to sell. Clicks and viewership are worth big money. The more outrageous the headline and the more outrageous the story, the more likely a media outlet attracts an audience. Every headline, news story, blog post, social media platform, YouTube offering, one-sided documentary, media show, or likewise fare is geared for one thing and one thing only: to make money. (This blog is the exception, as you can see, by lack of promotion and ads.)

Normal people doing well, bipartisanship in Washington, and kitten videos don’t bring in ad bucks. Instead, when we grab our morning coffee and device, we’re greeted with SHOCKING and HORRIFIC stories crafted to pique our interest, engage our emotions—especially anger—and intensify our desire us for more. More and more so we can feel intoxicating effect of outrage! More and more so we can prove WE ARE right. More and more so we can prove THEY ARE wrong.

“If it bleeds, it leads,” Eric Pooley (New York Magazine, 1989).

We’ve gone beyond “if it bleeds, it leads,” these days. Not simply content with covering grisly murders or polarizing trials, news outlets have become saturated with warring opinion and viewpoints concentrating on fringe ideas, outlandish theories and knowingly inaccurate interpretations.

Media have specifically designed their fare to create OUTRAGE.

Which, unfortunately, spills over to real life. Neighbor attacking neighbor, people acting insulted and defiantly demanding their way, always, and incivility abounding in every encounter. Demanding, defiant and detrimental: we live in a dangerous age where people yell at the cashier without shame, spit in others’ faces, resort to blows…and worse.

Daily encounters are land mines due to the unpredictable behavior of people who live in a media-induced constant state of outrage. And, I blame the misconception of what is true reality by the media whose only objective is to get more bank.

How our bodies react.

We all learned that when we encounter a stressful or threatening situation, our bodies enter “fight or flight” mode.  Like the zebra chased by the lion, all systems in the zebra’s are minimized except for those relating to running away. Similarly, our bodies react, prepping to stay for the fisticuffs or turn and hightail like Usain Bolt.

When we encounter stress, hormones are released that help us manage the situation. Epinephrine (Adrenaline), Norepinephrine, and Cortisol are those hormones, and each have their own function.

Epinephrine works to stimulate heart rate and large muscles, increase energy by converting glycogen to glucose and thereby raising blood sugar, dilate the pupils, heighten awareness, and shut down peripheral blood flow so more blood can be pumped to the muscles. In medical treatment, Epinephrine is used to combat such conditions heart attacks, severe low blood pressure and allergic reactions.

Norepinephrine works alongside Epinephrine and creates arousal. Norepinephrine works mainly on constricting blood flow to the outer extremities which increases blood pressure. In medicine, Norepinephrine is used to treat low blood pressure from septic shock, ADHD and depression.

Cortisol is the long-term hormone that takes minutes, not seconds to enter the system. It’s also known as the “Stress Hormone.” It helps to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure, and regulate body functions that aren’t crucial during stress, like libido and digestion.

But when we are constantly under stress, as in continually feeding on outrage, the body continuously releases cortisol. Chronic elevated levels can lead to serious health issues.

Long term effects of too much Cortisol:

  • Heart Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive Problems
  • Headaches
  • High Blood Sugar
  • Sleep Problems
  • Weight Gain
  • Memory and Concentration Impairment

The media is wired, like our body’s response to stress, to stimulate the stress response. They want us jolted, jarred and jumbled. We get that stimulating high from outrage from headlines and stories highlighting the latest political antic, racial slur, sexist remark, or anything they know will raise our blood pressure and release those hormones. And, when we get that high, we want more. We crave more until we’re drowning in a reality that doesn’t exist, and, frankly, never did.

We must remember that investigative journalism is dead. Journalists approach a story, a documentary, a panel discussion or town hall event with the end in mind. They want to highlight scenarios that fit their agenda and purpose. The end is already in sight, they just want to prove it. Instead of gathering facts to see where the facts lead, they gather evidence that proves their position. Which means, we never see the evidence that disproves.

We must remember that life isn’t a salacious headline. Life isn’t a political fight. Life isn’t black or white, and right or wrong. It’s shades of gray, and prisms of different viewpoints.

How we can regain health.

So, what happens when we identify that it’s really them (the media) and not us?

We need to DISENGAGE. For our health!

We need to pull back from our devices and news stories. We need to stay away from social media and documentaries. We need to turn off news shows. In general, we need to unplug.

What can we do instead? You probably can think of a hundred different things to do.

Here’s some ideas to start your list…Take a walk. Learn to love silence. Rearrange the living room or arrange a vase of flowers. Take a drive. Learn a new skill. Build something. Meet a friend for coffee. Host a dinner party with games (games direct discussion away from current events). Garden. Paint. Sew. Visit the art museum. Go on a date. Visit the fair or an amusement park. Watch the sunset. Etc.

Go. Do it. Now. For your health.

“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” ~James 3:18 (MSG)

Ghosting is Real, and That’s Not the Only Problem

Ghosting, or not showing up for interviews or the first day of work, is a modern workforce problem. I hear it all the time from my friends who still own businesses with employees: “no shows” for interviews and even newly hired employees is irking employers.

With the lowest unemployment rate in 20 years–currently at 3.8%–candidates are receiving multiple offers and being selective with their choices. They’ll accept two or three, and then decide at the last minute which one to take. They assume their absence is a clear indication that they no longer want the job.

They would be wrong.

One friend said, “It’s just rude. I have a business to run and they don’t show up for their first day of work. I don’t know what to do, I’ve planned for them to be there. I need to fill this position.”

The other side of the coin is that when the unemployment rate was up, HR departments or individual employers would often use “no contact” as a way to inform candidates they wouldn’t be continuing in the hiring process. Rude, yes, but acceptable. Now the pendulum has swung the other way, and employees are in the cat bird seat, they hold the power.

I believe a healthy amount of respect is needed from both parties, employer and employee. Perhaps we don’t have to resort to linen paper correspondence formality, but we do have communicate with each other.

As a business owner, I would always let a candidate know they weren’t getting a second interview, or weren’t selected for the job. It’s not a fun phone call to make, but it’s an important one. Communication is vital. As is, decorum. If an employee spends their workday wearing earbuds, are they engaged in their job, or just passing time?

I wrote this a year before I sold my sign and graphic business:

“Listen, Millennials, I hire you. I like working with you. I love your enthusiasm and energy, and your fresh perspective! However, when you don’t show up for work for days without contacting me, your employer, I’m sorry, I have to fire you. And when you bring a space heater to work without my permission, I see that as a fire hazard for my building filled with tens of thousands of dollars of my equipment. (No, I’m not Scrooge, I do run the heat, it’s just that if you choose to wear sandals in November…hmmm.). And when you tell me that I have to tell another employee to stop eating a certain way, I see that as a sign of immaturity on your part. Look, you are valuable in the workforce, but please, be mindful of your employer and other coworkers. You have much to offer, but you need to adopt some healthy respect and you’ll do great!”

I love the vitality that young people bring to an organization, but they need to understand they need to keep learning. It never stops, through education and observation, a successful person is constantly improving, learning and growing.

“The key to success is dedication to life-long learning.” ~ Stephen Covey

A Little Note to Fearmongers and Inciters

Dear Fearmongers and Inciters,

You are mostly wrong. A small portion of our society doesn’t represent the majority. Isolated incidences aren’t indicative of a mass problem. Most of us are good, regardless of our politics, we are good people, and you are making things worse, not better.

In the words of an oppressed young girl, we take heart.

You need to tone down the rhetoric and realize that your words are causing harm.

Sincerely,

The Majority

Marine Runs for Senate at Republican; Democrat Parents Back Opponent

I’m running for Senate as a Republican. My Democrat parents are so furious they’re backing my opponent

This opinion piece content is so sad. His parents have basically shunned him and his family–their very own grandchildren!–over politics. This is NOT how we should be living! We can agree to have different politics, but we MUST STOP demonizing the other side. The other side are full of people who care. The other side are our fellow brothers and sisters. The other side EACH has a really horrific fringe sect that we cannot and must not equate with the entire side. We must find common ground and love must prevail. We cannot continue to live in a world of soundbites and hyperbole. We need to build bridges. And it starts with the person in the mirror.

What will you do today? #buildbridges

Kevin Nicholson

Kevin Nicholson

Kevin Nicholson is a decorated Marine Corps veteran who served combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Following his time in the Marine Corps, he earned a joint degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (Master of Public Administration) and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business (Master of Business Administration). He then worked for McKinsey & Co., and now works for ghSmart as a business consultant. He is a first-time candidate in the Wisconsin Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

lol

Greatest line of the day: “So maybe he’s just scared because his girlfriend is missing and scared that he might be considered a suspect by everyone with a Facebook!”

Everyone “with a Facebook.”

Perfection.

STYLE!

I’ll get gussied up, and people have said I do clean up well, as hubby and I used to put on the dog back in the day, when average people still dressed up for functions and everyone wasn’t “all cool” in shorts and flip flops–not that I’d ever mock my summer uniform, I just wouldn’t wear it to art reception.

These days I’m looking at fashion more than wearing it. And, I am fascinated with Melania’s, Kate’s, Meghan’s, et. al. wardrobes! Man, what style, what class! I LOVE IT!

I’m going out and buying myself a pair of nude pumps. I don’t know what I’ll wear them with, haven’t the faintest, but I am getting some nude pumps!! Maybe a pair of blue slingbacks, too, for the summer.

I’m hooked on this high style!

Social Media and Defining Privacy

‘Pretty plane girl’ slams passenger for sharing ‘false’ viral ‘Plane bae’ story to Twitter without consent

I read an article about this a few days after it happened and saw the Twitter timeline, which read like a short story. It was enthralling. I’m saddened for the woman who felt so violated. We’re in new territory here with where privacy ends and public begins in social media.

“I did not ask for and do not seek attention. #PlaneBae is not a romance – it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.” -#PrettyPlaneGirl

How can we be mindful of privacy, when there is no such thing as privacy…?

Women: Advocate For Your Healthcare!

Kayla Rahn had a 50 pound tumor removed from her belly. How, you may ask, did it grow so large without being detected earlier? Doctors insisted she was just getting fat. Because, women get fat, right?

National news anchor, Shannon Beam, complained of chronic eye pain for years. It was due to the daily tearing of her retinas. Doctors insisted her pain was emotional. Because, women are emotional, right?

Tori Foles, wife of Super Bowl quarterback Nick, complained of chronic dizziness. It was due to POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). Doctors told her she had a virus. Because, women overreact to their symptoms, right?

What these three cases highlight is an ongoing problem in modern healthcare. Women’s symptoms consistently are not being taken seriously.

I experienced this myself. I went to four doctors with my thyroid condition. They all said, “you’re good, you’re in normal range.” I was so exhausted that some days I could barely get out of bed. I was gaining weight and not eating. I would have been fired from my job, but as a homeschool mom I was my own boss. And, I did want to fire me–only so someone else could take over and I could sleep!

So, my tiredness? “As women age, they lose energy.” Seriously?

And, my weight gain? “Just eat less.” I was literally consuming 900 calories a day at most!

I tried another doctor, another endocrinologist, and another, and another…

Finally, a physician listened to me, and ran some more tests. After putting me on a new thyroid medication, some prescription strength vitamin B, and increasing my vitamin D dosage by 3 times of what I had been taking, I was able to function. I could get up out of bed for the entire day! I could homeschool my kids! I could stop gaining weight! I could diet and even start losing a bit!

I was human again.

Unfortunately, it’s not a happy ending for all women. Many times our symptoms are downplayed by “the experts.” Many times our experience is negated by “the professionals.”

I learned early with my kids that I had to be their advocate. No pediatrician in the world knew them better than I. I knew when something wasn’t right, and as a Mama Bear, I would fight until the issue was addressed.

We have to be the same tough advocate for our own healthcare. We need to be strong and insistent. No one knows our bodies like we do. No one understands our experience like we do. No one feels our symptoms like we do.

If something isn’t right, if you’re not feeling right, don’t let a doctor tell you it’s in your head. Or, that it’s just because you’re getting older, or you’re too young, or whatever.

It is never okay to have a medical professional discount your symptoms. Fight for the healthcare you deserve!