Did you overindulge in cable news a bit during the election? Devour Instagram insatiably during spring break? Gobble up your Facebook feed so fast you didn’t really taste what you were consuming? Understandable behavior for the season, but now you find yourself tired and carrying an extra 10 pounds of apps and notifications. How do you get back in shape and overcome information indigestion?
Here are 5 ways.
- Eat clean.
A lot of what we are sold as news and information is actually processed regurgitation of opinions. Read the facts carefully. Avoid the tempting but informationally deficient mutual admiration society of media pundits that just opines on the opinons of others. The facts are processed and filled with additives. You can’t even taste the substance through it sometimes.
- Chew your food slowly.
Reflect on what you hear/watch/read/see. Take into consideration not just your primary reaction to a headline (which is meant to grab your attention and sell a story), but the taste of the actual content as you consume it, noticing the different flavors, what’s fresh, what’s missing, what’s too strong, what could use a pinch of healthy skepticism, or has too much pepper.
- Eat a balanced diet.
Keep a media diary for a week. Look at how much of your consumption falls into the categories of work related, news, spiritual nourishment, self-improvement and recreational. Is it balanced? Make leafy green spiritual nourishment take up half of your plate, add in healthy amounts of work related, news and recreational information, varying the flavours to keep things fresh and interesting. And for the love of God read books. Good fiction. You will learn more about yourself and the world in Les Miserables or The Count of Monte Cristo than you will in most ‘self-help books’. GOOD fiction holds a mirror up to the reader’s mind, soul and life. Also consider your total intake… too many calories? Go for a walk instead of sitting on the couch with your cell phone.
- Eat junk food in moderation.
We all love to indulge in the occasional Netflix binge (…new season of The Crown comes out in November), but too much binge eating leaves us flabby and tired. Whether it’s a treat of dude perfect on YouTube, video games, movies or shows- enjoy, but in moderation. And don’t feel guilty about it. No one likes a stressed-out health food fanatic who wrinkles their nose at anything that tastes good but may have a few extra carbs.
- No toxins.
Anything that kills your soul is OUT. Forever. Cold-turkey. Pornography, morally questionable romances that normalize infidelity or harm your marriage emotionally. GONE. That stuff will kill you. Remember the sneaky toxins- the ones that make you change your perception of other people, making you angry or unable to have respectful conversations. The labels aren’t always honest- you may be sold news but consuming rage. Keep an eye on your blood pressure. Movies? Check the ingredients. There are a lot of review websites that will tell you what is in a movie before you put it in your brain. I like www.commonsensemedia.org which gives movie, book and video game reviews that deal what kind of positive and negative content are in the title, as well as how often it occurs and with what intensity. Consider what your soul needs to grow and what kills it, and develop habits of choosing and enjoying the right nourishment.