If we pay attention, we’ll likely notice that our thoughts loop through the same repetitive content day after day. Worries, fears, stresses, musings, judgements, to-dos, shoulds and shouldn’ts, etc. In order to shift these, we have to introduce new ideas.
I became aware of how negative my thoughts were when I began to expose myself to new ways of thinking. It started with a podcast episode while walking. And then another and another. Just by exposing myself to new and more hopeful language, I soon saw a huge shift in my own.
We are the most resourced generation in the history of humanity. We have more science behind human behavior than ever before. We have the ability to break habits and patterns in astounding ways. We can grow and strengthen our relationships, increase our health, learn to ground ourselves, deepen our friendships. It’s all a matter of tapping into resources.
I highly recommend digging into resources that orient you toward growth at least once a week. I love to read and do so often, but I find that podcasts are most accessible for this purpose. I listen to them while working out or walking. Fit them in wherever you can. You might be surprised by how much it can impact your thinking! Below are a few of my favorites:
- Ten percent Happier with Dan Harris
- Mind and Life Institute
- Unlocking Us with Brene Brown
- Hidden Brain
- TED Talks Daily
- Rich Roll
- The Tim Ferris Show
- Raising Good Humans (for parents)
- Being Well
There’s no way around this. While media can be helpful, as above, we are also inundated more noise, more stimulation, and more input that any generation to ever walk this earth. Each of these things has a massive impact on our wellbeing. Research suggests that we can even encounter vicarious trauma through exposure to media and tv. Media has a massive impact on our worldview and perspective.
Finding balance in the midst of that can be extremely difficult. I have a hard time setting down my phone once I have tapped into social media, and I love watching tv. Putting ourselves in a position where we have to constantly wrestle with the temptation of saying no is in itself a stressor. I recommend placing some safeguards around your space to mitigate the temptation.
One of my dear friends holds the passcode to the parental controls on my phone. That’s right… I had parental controls installed on my phone. As an adult. I feel no shame! I limit my social media via phone time to a small window on the weekends. I will occasionally check in from my computer during my workday, but for me, that window of time is not very tempting.
As a general rule, I try to limit tv to the weekends only. I find I read more and go to bed earlier. When I think about how many hours of my life I have cumulatively dedicated to television, it can be pretty disheartening. I hate it. But also, I’m not yet ready to boot it entirely.
Consider challenging yourself to a tech and/or tv free day or week or even month. We should all have the opportunity to view what our lives are like without this input. How do you spend your time? How does it change your energy? We’ll be hosting some 30 day challenges here, so keep an eye out!
The more important goal, however, is to understand the mechanisms driving our media usage. Are we lonely? Stressed? Tired? Taking the time to really question and understand why we’re reaching for that outside distraction can be hugely instrumental in healing it. See if you can notice the sensations fueling your desire to reach for your phone or remote. And then, see if you can sit with the discomfort of those sensations (I suggest arming yourself with some resources and support as you begin this, but it can be transformative). This is the beginning of healing.