The bad stuff that happens to us (and others) is what is most interesting.On the one hand this is nice: Something dreadful that happened to us turns into a wonderful adventure with the passing of time.
On the other hand this has a proclivity of confronting us with mostly negatives: War in the Krim, oil spills in Africa, corrupt politicians in our own back yard.
Getting confronted with the negatives, in the news and through our own personal stories, creates an availability bias; we are biased to believe that those things which are generally “available” are in fact common. Because every murder is big news, every war is shown on prime time, we come to believe that murder and war are all around us.
Statistically however this is far from true: The number of murders has been very steadily declining (at least here in the Netherlands) and the number of wars and other armed conflicts is at an all time low.
The solution? Stop feeding the availability bias.
I haven’t watched the news for over 10 years now (due to not owning a television). When I read the news (either online or because I found a newspaper) I concentrate on the economic news (because that is handy for my work and actually does get reported when things are going better) and the comics. Death, war, pollution, politics: There is very little I can do about these anyway so why would I need to know about them? And if there is anything truly important or big, it will get to me through the collective consciousness (i.e. people talking about it).
They say you are what you eat. The same is true for mental food. So why not throw out all the negative and bad stuff and just consume that which is good for you (i.e. makes you happy)?
Boo for politics. Yay for comics!