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You Are What You Think
By Barb Hansen
May
2012

I was on the phone with my best friend the other night and asked her what she thought about a big story in the news. She said, "I haven't heard anything about it." She went on to say that she gave up watching the news or reading the paper a month earlier. The news was just too depressing and disturbing, she said.

I was shocked. Me, I am a current events junkie. A Political Science major, I have always been drawn to the news in the political world. Old habits die hard, I guess. When I am in my regular routine I tune to the news first thing in the morning and it's the last thing to go off at night. Generally, I feel good being informed and engaged. In my mind, this is what a good citizen does.

To each her own, certainly. My friend lives in the nation's capital and the discouraging yin yang of the government sausagewerks is probably in the D. C. air. Anyway, she told me she's much more relaxed now that she knows less of what is going on in the world.

So what is it about the news that makes one person feel bad and another feel good? I think it must be something going on in our heads. My husband has always said, If your head is on right, a tin cup can be a silver chalice. Its all about how you look at life. You are what you think.

Let's say you pass somebody on the street and he starts yelling obscenities at you for no apparent reason. You might be inclined to think, "What a jerk." But if you found out the other person was severely mentally ill you might think, instead, "Oh, poor guy." See, you are what you think.

Now, of course, there is some serious doom and gloom in the news. Sometimes the news is so discouraging it's hard not be down and maybe even a little angry. But, woe is we? Nope. Not here.

I am so lucky. I manage a charter yacht company and school for yacht skippers -- at a marina -- and the ever-present sound of happy marina people doing what they do is like taking a happy pill even when I'm at my desk and dealing with business matters.

You know what, people who work around boats are happier. Boaters are happier. I'm convinced of it. It doesn't make any difference whether they're on a megayacht or a paddleboard. I'm reminded of an old saying which I think has some oceanic truth to it: Mountain people are wise. Ocean people are happy.

So, if the news is getting you down, go down to the water's edge and catch some sunshine. If you really need a stronger dose my prescription is to gather up the family, get in a boat, and push away from all of that land-based negativity. It's funny how your perspective changes on a boat. No TV. No newspapers. No news is good news.

Don't have a boat? Actually, you do. There's a charter boat in this marina with your name on it. Think about it. You are what you think.
 

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