If the first thing you do in the morning is to check your phone, you need to sort out your priorities.
We have all been stuck at home for almost four months now. We are spending our days relaxing, watching TV shows, reading books, devouring social media, and now and then doing a little work- internship, hobbies, etc. Essentially, we have been consuming all sorts of content all day. This is not pertinent to this specific time though- it’s just happening more so than usual.
Cutting to the chase- ‘you become what you consume’. And if the first thing that you consume in the morning is Instagram stories, you are not doing yourself any favors. Try water instead.
It is customarily believed that your physical diet reflects on your skin and body, energy levels, and strength. Likewise, your mind and personality are an even substantial display of what media content you invest in every day.
The thing here is that the effects of mindless consumption unveil slowly. When it comes to light, a lot of harm and addiction has already taken place. With shitty food, you can see the effects significantly due to physical attributes but with shitty content, there is no physical evidence. It usually comes in the form of anxiety, irritability, information overload, depression, confusion, and sadness. It takes its sweet time to affect your mind and then for you to feel and recognize it.
Genuinely though, if you start being just a little sensitive to your mind and moods, you’ll see considerable shifts proportional to your mindful and mindless consumption. You can feel your mental health decline in a hurry with the latter.
I think all of us must take a step back, analyze our intake, and take a plunge to change it.
Choose your time and set limits
Taking a break and turning your brain off for some time is important. It is usually during these times when we consume the maximum content off the internet- be it social platforms, Netflix, or youtube. Maybe read a book-it all seems to form the most perfect downtime.
While all of these seem attractive and relaxing at first if it goes on for a long time, it becomes addictive and customarily initiates this habit.
So, you can’t go cold turkey but try to understand the effects long hours of scrolling have on your mind. Without even your acknowledgment, you feel jealous or lonely by seeing your friends without you, you feel unproductive by seeing someone else’s achievements and you feel unworthy or useless or ugly by stalking and comparing yourselves to the “perfect” Instagram li(f)e.
Even during your break times, keep a check on your limits. Maybe go all for it for one day but not more than that. Allot time limits and hold fast to them. Make sure that you can turn it off and go back to your actual life.
More importantly, choose your time. Going through your social media first thing in the morning is quite a social convention at this point but believe me, that is not the time. Your mornings set the pattern for your day- do something better.
Be selective instead of being ignorant
It would be obscure to suggest that you stop consuming the news of the outside world entirely. But it would not be obscure for you to filter and pay attention to the quality of consumption. I don’t think you need to read about one news on every page and then every comment about it. Or know about everything that is happening in your friends’ life with whom you have talked to maybe twice this year; and liking every single post of that media influencer isn’t such a bright idea either. Show yourself some love instead.
You have every means of choosing what you read and know. Avoid knowing about anything deeply that you know will affect you badly. Maybe it’s about making sure your news source’s credentials are good and not biased. Maybe it’s about unfollowing a few friends who just make you feel bad about yourself. You decide.
Leading off from the previous one, filter your feed! For every negative news out there about whatsoever, people are trying to spread positivity, peace, and tranquility. Follow them, and be one of those people yourself! Receive an ounce of positivity from whatever content you feel fit and distribute it for more; it certainly feels good. A positive and happy mindset is very important for your mental health and negative media intake all day is not gonna help with that.
What does your consumption CREATE?
Alright, the most important analysis. Whenever you are on the verge of your media consumption, just ask yourself this- how will this help me? What creation will come out of it? More often than not, the answer will be nothing.
Think about it this way- if what you are spending your time on doesn’t make you feel good and has no creative value, why the hell are you consuming it? Case in point, watching a movie or a show makes you feel good, but only for the first couple hours. For all the subsequent time, you’re just sitting there because you’re lazy and/or have nothing else to do.
Devouring the content that makes you feel good all the livelong day is not advisable either; such as, reading a book. Believe me, I am all for it- I have quite literally devoured 500 pages long books in single weekends. And it does contribute to your writing or conversational skills, but ultimately, you are just consuming content and not creating something out of it, unless you use what you learn.
So, out of all the content you go through in a day, try to include some which contribute to your field of interest and creativity. Create more than you consume. (more on this later!)
The truth is, most of us are addicted to the consumption of news, social media, TV, whatever because we don’t want to be bothered with doing any real living or creating of our own. We use the consumption of media as a replacement for stepping up, living and creating our own noteworthy achievements or stories.
You have to truly make an effort to be more selective in what you consume, while never slipping into ignorance about the world. You need to pick the right times to devour your media and you need to make sure that, whatever it is that you are consuming, is contributing to your creativity and not sucking it dry. You do this by consuming positive things and by setting limits on your consumption so that you have more time to create instead of constantly being a passive observer.
Is it hard to limit your consumption of shit? Yes. As hard as it is to limit your consumption of terrible food. But it is just as necessary for your health to do it. You need to get clear about how you want your life to look and put yourself on the appropriate media diet that helps you achieve it.
Comment down below what changes you think you need, or any tips you think will be helpful!