Put Your Brain on a Steady Diet of the Positive
September 13th, 2010
I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept that you become what you think about. Your life is profoundly impacted by the stream of information coming into your brain on a consistent basis. If you listen to the radio on your way into work and you hear about natural disasters, car accidents, flu outbreaks and the economic crisis your brain will be processing this information for most of the day. If you then come home and turn on CNN for another dose of the doom and gloom your brain will be processing this unpleasantness while you are trying to sleep. This barrage of negativity becomes the backdrop of our days and our nights.
Now I am not advocating that we become uninformed and ignorant to what is happening in the world around us. I do think that knowledge of local and world affairs is important. We just have to balance our media diet to include larger portions of the positive. And make sure we are consuming positive stories, books, magazines, movies, blogs, and TV more than we are consuming the negative.
I have to admit I am a reformed CNN junkie. I used to have it on all the time. Even as a Canadian, I followed religiously the Presidential election coverage of a couple of years ago. Then I had my son Nicholas. He has changed our lives in more ways than you can imagine. When he was about 3 months old, I read an article released by the American Association of Pediatrics that recommended against exposing children under the age of 2 to television. They stated that the screen would be mesmerizing for them and that their development would be much better served by having interaction and play. Well my husband and I knew if the TV was there it would be on, so at that point (over a year ago) we cancelled our cable.
We have the TV for the occasional movie night but to be honest it is never on. And the amazing thing is that we don’t miss it. We spend so much more time playing with Nicholas, reading to Nicholas and generally hanging out as a family, without the TV blaring in the background. There is some positive TV and I am a big sports fan so when Nicholas is older we may reintroduce cable with limited viewing, but for now I’m not missing it. Instead I am filling my mind with the good stuff and my life with the positive experiences that are sometimes missed when we plant our butts in front of the “boob tube”. I read that the average North American spends 1700 hours per year watching TV. That about 4.5 hours per day. That is almost 25% of our waking hours watching TV. And a large portion of it is negative.
Many personal development experts speak of “standing guard” at the entrance to your mind and only letting the positive in so only the positive can impact your life. But unless you are planning on moving to a desert island it is inevitable that you will be exposed to the negative.
There are still steps you can take to limit your exposure. Maybe you can’t avoid seeing the tabloid headlines in the grocery store, but you don’t have to pick them up and you certainly don’t have to buy them. Maybe you love listening to the radio but instead of listening to the news you could subscribe to Sirius satellite radio and pick your favorite genre of consistent music or positive talk radio that will uplift and enlighten you. Maybe you don’t want to cancel your cable but you can tape just those shows you love and watch them when you want to watch them and skip the commercials that often cater to our fears and fuel our feelings of inadequacy. Also try to read magazines and books on things that you love that are inspirational to you. By putting your brain on a diet of the positive you will be bringing more of the positive into your life.
What are some of the ways you stand guard at the entrance of your mind to avoid negativity?
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