In our modern and interconnected world it's impossible to go about our day without hearing about everything going on all around us at any given moment. Human beings are curious animals so it's within our nature to want to learn what's happening in the world out there, so we watch the news to get our daily fill of current events, even if the majority of those events don't have a direct impact on our lives.
I sometimes wonder if we as a species have grown too attached and accustomed to watching newscasters dryly reading off of teleprompters on our screens of choice (smartphone, computer, television, etc.). Considering most news stories are presented in a negative and sensationalist manner (largely because of a subconscious desire for it), I believe that more people would benefit from avoiding the news or at least reducing their daily intake of news, similar to how one might approach extra sugar or calories on a diet.
I have often told myself that I want to walk a fine line between maintaining happiness and staying informed. Knowledge is power, but without any sort of optimism or happiness then knowledge becomes a burden that breeds pessimism and depression. On the other hand ignorance is bliss, but without staying grounded in the real world one becomes as lost and directionless as a naive puppy. It's important to acquire knowledge so that one has the tools necessary to tackle the problems of our day, while also maintaining a certain level of optimism that allows one to see to it that those problems are ultimately fixed. By doing so, one might also provide happiness to other people in the process.
It has become essentially the default state for us to be glued to our smartphone screens, watching our news stations of choice and all with their own biases that confirm our preconceived notions of the world at large. According to one study, there is an increase in anxiety and stress for those of us who watch the news more often, which helps to fan the flames of personal concerns even more.
I am by no means immune to this situation, and I believe it would help in fact to take breaks from watching the news and focus more on the hobbies that interest us, myself included. I actually feel more relaxed and at ease now that I've decisively avoided watching the news for some time; when I do tune back in for a couple stories, I'm more level-headed and objective in analyzing what's being relayed back to me.
The key to living a fulfilled life is balance. Sometimes it's important to learn about what's going on in the world, while other times it's necessary to take a step back and allow one's mind to rest after being exposed to so many sources of potential stress. I do not believe that one is "missing out" by turning off the news channel every now and then and simply enjoying oneself in the present moment. It can go a long way in healing some of the divisions between us as fellow human beings.