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The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

Are You A Cable Addict?
By Rebecca Coates Nee
October 15, 2001

Iím back in my old newsroom but now itís in a high rise near the remains of the World Trade Center. The Goodyear blimp zooms past us to wipe out the rest of the rubble. We try to escape down the stairs but weíre told we have to stay and work. More planes start coming toward windows all around us. This is what happens when you watch too much war coverage right before you go to sleep.

Much of the American public has been affixed to their TV sets since the Sept. 11th attacks, but the rate of cable addiction is particularly high among former and current broadcasters. Then we wonder why weíre having nightmares and trouble sleeping. A producer friend of mine once read a newspaper article on how to reduce stress. The advice: "Donít watch local news. Itís very depressing."

Not watching the news in these turbulent times obviously isnít an option for broadcasters. But a lot of people are staying tuned to CNN or MSNBC even when theyíre not at the station. After all, they NEED to stay informed so theyíll be better prepared to go after the sixteenth local angle tomorrow. But when does watching All-The-War-All-The-Time become an unhealthy addiction?

A person who isnít sleeping well or leading a balanced life outside of work isnít going to make a very productive worker or happy person the next day Ė in broadcasting or elsewhere. One of my favorite books for those of us searching for a life is "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" by Robin Sharma. Itís sort of a guide to enlightenment for dummies.

And like the other stress-management experts, one of the authorís secrets to a happy life is ó you guessed it ó donít watch the news before bedtime: "The ten-minute period before you sleep and the ten-minute period after you wake up are profoundly influential on your subconscious mind," Sharma writes. "Only the most inspiring and serene thoughts should be programmed into your mind at those times."

What you put into your subconscious mind is what will come out. We canít cut ourselves off from whatís going on around us. Instead of turning on the early shows when the alarm goes off, write in a journal or watch a sunrise. At night, listen to relaxing music or read a book thatís good for your mind and spirit. You donít have time for that? Ten minutes is all it takes. Try it. Sometimes just the simplest rituals help keep us focused on the big picture of our lives.