Two mental health experts weigh in on the impact of news:

Bad news: “With every news alert or breaking story, our world seems to be pushed further and further into crisis. It is taking a serious toll on our environment, but also on our mental health.” – Alexandra Pattillo, CNN health reporter

Good news: “Being exposed to positive information benefits us emotionally, physically, and mentally. It can contribute in a meaningful way to a happier and healthier life.” – Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, Harvard psychology professor

If these statements are true, why do the media bombard us every day with blaring headlines and graphic images of crime, war, weather disasters, racial problems, poverty, death, hatred, political division, and just about any other negative occurrence they can find and sensationalize? Two reasons:

Psychology – “News has long centered on negative things because it engages our fear reflex and hence is generally more attention-grabbing.” – Dr. Tom Stafford, Psychology professor, Sheffield UK

Economics – In a capitalist society if we have a hot-selling product (bad news), we prosper. If we have one that doesn’t sell (good news), we crash. The news media is a business, and it learned long ago that negative worldviews, angry and violent people, and gory images are big sellers. Good news may tug at out heartstrings, but it doesn’t sell.

If too much bad news is harmful, and good news is health-inducing, how do we get more of the latter? We retrain the brain to look for it. Bad news travels fast and finds us wherever we are. Good news takes the scenic route, and it’s our job to find it. This is exactly why I wrote the book THE POWER OF GOOD NEWS: Feeding Your Mind with What’s Good for Your Heart.

Three more specific reasons for writing it:

1. To show how good news contributes to our well-being

2. To point out that the good in the world far outweighs the bad – I promise, it does

3. To offer a few suggestions for adding and spreading more joy in your life

100% of royalties and other profits from sales of the book will go to: 4 Character Education organizations, scholarships to my alma mater (University of San Francisco), and 4 charities that aid poor and handicapped people.

You can buy signed and dated copies directly from my website: Questions? Mail them to [email protected].

In the meantime, please be on the lookout for the good in the world, and be good news to others.


  • Hal Urban

    Teacher - Author - Speaker

    Hal was an award-winning teacher at both the high school and university levels for 36 years. He is the author of eight books and has spoken more than a thousand times in 44 states and Washington D.C. He has also made more than 40 international presentations. Hal's primary interests and speaking topics focus on good character, mental health, the impact of positive words, the power of good news, and great teaching.