Is Media Affecting Your Mental Clarity?
Dear Selfless Esteem,
I’ve been reading a book and reading it has reminded me of the subconscious programming that is involved in television, specifically in advertisements. It made me contemplate on the concepts of free will, conditioned thought, and the impact of what we choose to consume via our sense faculties. How do you maintain clarity of mind when bombarded by the constant noise from the media and the external world? How do you fast from the noise of influence and find the center within yourself?
I feel ya. I ditched my tv about 25 years ago. I like to think I was ahead of my time because so much is on the internet now. 😏 However, I’m not recommending that people get rid of their televisions or any other form of media; the answer is as numerous as there are individuals.
I appreciate that you used the phrase “choose to consume.” You are correct in that we all have a choice so let’s start there.
The “Noise of Influence”
What we consume and how much we consume makes a difference. My old high school teacher used to say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, media has a profound and sometimes negative affect on our emotions, thoughts and, subsequently, our behavior.
But how do we know our limits? Our emotions are an indicator. While watching tv, listening to music, reading the newspaper, etc., notice your feelings. Do you feel encouraged? Light-hearted? Unhappy? Prideful? Stressed? Stick to media, which has a positive effect on you. (See “How to Protect Your Mental Health on Social Media” by Sheenia Denae.)
Still, some media is necessary and unavoidable because it’s educational or informative. In that case, monitor the intensity of your emotions to determine when you need to take a break. But then how do you find the “center within yourself” after this exposure?
Finding the “Center within Yourself”
Every day, a little proverbial dirt accumulates on us, i.e. negative media, other people’s low energy or bad mood, or our own imperfections. Therefore, we need to cleanse ourselves with water, inside and out. Read on for three tips on detoxifying yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.
1) Drinking water cleanses us internally, eliminating toxins and improving “mental clarity,” which you mentioned in your letter. See this article for details about the health benefits of drinking water. (It’s written for older adults but has lots of good general information if you’re in a different age bracket.)
2) Surround yourself with water in a relaxing bathtub or jacuzzi, or in a refreshing pool, lake or ocean. The sensation of being weightless in a body of soft, caressing water is comforting mentally.
3) Wash in the “water of the word” (Ephesians 5:26). The Bible can cleanse you spiritually because the Word of God is pure (Proverbs 30:5), and it is truth (John 17:17).
There are different ways to read the Bible. The Church on the Way has a plan for reading through the Bible in a year. Or maybe you prefer to read at your own pace. Even one single verse per day is powerful.
That last tip is the first step to finding the center within yourself, which is where the Holy Spirit dwells (2 Timothy 1:14) if you believe in Him and follow Him. (Forgive me for the oversimplified explanation; I’m not a theologist.) Ironically, the center of yourself is not just yourself. “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17). For more details about focusing on God vs. focusing on ourselves, see the posts, “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem,” “The Real Truth About God,” and “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps.” As a result, you will find peace (John 14:27). 😌
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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