Have you considered that your mind and body is similar to a boiling kernel of rice? The water around the grain, just like the ocean of external stimuli to ourselves, gets fully absorbed. The analogy of the water around you is everything in your environment that’s a stimulus, including your friends and family, conversations with them, your television and music, even your food and dietary choices.
Consider the information you’re engulfed in; is what you’re choosing to absorb sustaining or debilitating you? To give yourself the highest quality of life, it’s possible to curate what you’re actively absorbing around you. If I say to you don’t imagine a blue elephant.... You can’t help but imagine exactly that, a blue elephant. Just like when we listen or watch the news we can’t help but absorb that information.
Yesterday I flicked to the radio and heard a story about a twenty-one year old girl who’d decapitated her mother’s head with seven different knives. She didn't look at her family when receiving her twenty-one year sentence of first-degree manslaughter; the severity of her sentence was reduced due to her mental illness.
This had me thinking and picturing this travesty in vivid detail. I felt shocked and dismayed, even repulsed for those few seconds that I’d tuned in. This news was horrible and hearing it didn’t change the outcome of the case in the slightest, though it had a negative effect on me personally because of its gory details.
You can choose to design your physical space by turning off the television or radio and limiting your exposure to its negative content, which may not be helpful to you as it doesn’t improve your experience of life. Listening to the nightly news, which often has a lineup of ‘if it bleeds it leads’ can give people a sense of connection in context to their world, even if it's a negative one.
Many of us don’t realise that we’ve unknowingly created living environments in which we are constantly being bombarded by visual distractions, such as having the television on all hours of the day and night. In this modern age of streaming content, we’re vulnerable to binges like when we are mindlessly scrolling through our social media posts. The hours of screen time is skyrocketing for many to the point of being unhealthy and excessive.
Too much time on Instagram and Facebook can result in a distorted lens of believing that someone else’s life is far better than your own. This phenomenon is sometimes called Facebook envy, and with Instagram being a highly visual platform, it’s easy to fall prey to this pitfall. The many visual filters that further distort the image can create a post that’s aesthetically pleasing to some, making it very difficult to be comfortable with sharing a post that’s closer to reality.
To counteract this barrage of negative content, it may be well worth it to seek out new sources which offer more positive content. A healthier alternative to traditional media outlets might be to fulfill your need for connection from more sustainable and ecological stimuli like good quality conversations, enriching music, and positive self-talk... It’s essential to be discerning about what you take in. Rather than any hard and fast rules about restricting your news consumption, I am letting you know that you can exercise your power of choice wisely.
Start by asking yourself, “Do I really need to know this? How does it make me feel? For what purpose am I listening? Can I meet my need for connection elsewhere? Is this nourishing me? Is there something more resourceful I could be absorbing right now?”
Chapter fourteen of my book - “The Busy Professional’s Toolkit for Self-Mastery & Courageous Living,” covers the absorption method in more detail. Buy the Book now!