MAYBE IT’S TIME for us to step back from all the news that gives us fits. Do we really need news from social media sources every hour of every day? Do we need messages and alerts arriving on our computers and phones every minute?

To let tomorrow’s worries overwhelm today’s joys is a bad bargain. You can test this theory by spending one day without the news. Turn your devices off and spend the day with nature, family or find a place of solitude.

Author Frank Bures urged us to take a break from the negative news. Paying undue heed can make us blind to many of the things that do matter. Don’t let the world’s troubles ruin your happiness. Ignore the negative reports and savor the essential facts of life.

The fact is, the media, TV, print and radio don’t all convey the same meaning, even if the script they’re using is identical. Today, we have many novel technologies for communicating. The best way to communicate depends on how transparent you want to be about your emotions. The best is a face-to-face meeting. Second best is a video chat.

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that email is perceived to be the least authentic way to interact. If you have to fake your emotions, email is the way to go. When talking on the telephone it is easier to hide that you are faking your emotions, the study found.

What about texts or messages on social media? Research has found that comforting texts do nothing to relieve a loved one’s stress and seeking solace from social media makes a person feel worse than they did before.

If you are reminded of the political battles constantly it is no wonder we have trouble appreciating the simple pleasures our life has to offer. Take a few minutes right now to think back to your own best days, the times that seemed truly joyful: a day with your family, a visit with the newest member of your family or a reunion with the oldest member. Recall a pontoon boat ride on a chain of lakes to see the glory of the fall color.

Many people spend an average of 11 hours a day interacting with one form of media or another. There is a cost to this nonstop influx of news. It can affect our emotional state, energy level and mental health, experts say.

You could suffer from headline stress disorder. A 2019 survey showed 54% of people are stressed by the news. A 2018 study found that 68% of Americans feel exhausted by their news consumption.

There was a calmer time in our history when news traveled slower. Many believe today’s 24/7 news is progress, but we need to know when it needs to be turned off. There are times we need a time out that allows us to put things into perspective.

Social media has developed algorithms that allow providers to overwhelm us with one-sided points of view. We get tribal news, news you already agree with. Those articles just confirm what you want to know. You need more.

When you are connected, negative news can be as close as your pocket, car, work, at the dinner table, at a sporting event and many people can’t go to bed without first checking their messages on the phone. Negative messages can keep you from getting a good night’s rest.

Keep this advice close as the political campaigns progress: name-calling changes few minds. You probably will never see anger or radical arguments convert anyone. Persuasion requires a relationship that includes respect for the other person and learning how they arrived at their point of view.

The problem today is that we have exchanged what was once common sense for nonsense. A lot of the divisive issues that consume us are simply junk food for the mind. The best way to find common ground with an opponent is to present a better idea. You will be a genius if you can let your opponent think the better idea was theirs.