This article is a part of a new column exploring the intersection of travel, wellness and culture through a female lens.
Just kidding. Not everyone is doing it. But I think we should be. Have you ever heard of this term, media diet? I hadn’t, before sitting in yoga training listening to a talk on positive psychology over a year ago. I’ve been thinking back on this conversation often, especially when considering my reasons behind deciding to say no to media, in favor of my wellbeing.
Having our eyes glued to the tv, or latest breaking news report or Twitter streams isn’t great for our mind, because media doesn’t depict the best of the human potential. So when we’re constantly inundated with examples of humans not being great humans, it, not surprisingly has an effect on our psyche.
Hence, the media diet: a conscious decision to abstain. To say no. To choose to pick up a book, instead of scrolling the New York Times, or to go on a walk, versus turning on the news, or make a gratitude list instead of typing up a tweet of rage.
It’s about stepping into your power by being decidedly aware of what you consume. Getting super picky about the information you let into your life — your world. By choosing to go on a media diet, you automatically welcome in less negativity, and invite positivity.
By breaking an automatic habit (ie reading the news first thing in the morning, or scrolling Twitter late at night) and replacing it with a different, positive habit (taking a walk to get coffee instead of getting on the news site, picking up a book the moment you open Twitter) you’re doing little, monotonous things, which done over and over again retrain your mind into different rhythms. Habits that actually work in your favor, not against it.
This is important, right now especially, as we all feel the pressure boiling around us. If we don’t take control of what we let in, we never gives ourselves a break. We never get to simmer in the quiet thoughts of our mind, because we never give them a moment to get quiet. There’s no reprieve.
So instead, our brain gets used to seeing poor examples of the true human potential. We become pessimistic and biased and closed off. We witness poor examples of human character, therefore we unintentionally adopt these same attributes in our own life.
But while we may not be able to control the media, we can control ourselves. We have autonomy to say no, just as we do to say yes.
And our power lies in what we confidently, unapologetically, say no to.
Being a conscious consumer doesn’t just mean buying into ethical brands and slow fashion and social good causes. It also means being aware of what we’re letting in to the delicate framework of our mind.
If we want to be examples of the true human potential, then we need to start surrounding ourselves with ideas, people and communities that mirror these attributes. Unfortunately, given our current political climate, the media is no such example.
No need to run and gun. Be gradual. Take three days — over the weekend, into next week, and go on a media diet. I’m doing it too. Nothing extreme, baby steps, baby. A conscious effort to block out the bad, and not chase positivity, but make more space for it, in all areas of life.
Maybe media diets will become the new Whole30. Maybe we will learn to drop the weight by first dropping the stress. Maybe we’ll realize we are way more supported than the news leads us to believe, once we give ourselves a chance to feel it for ourselves.
So, I’m doing it. I’m going on a media diet. You in?
P.S. I believe in you.