Can you challenge yourself to be media free for one day? Can you try to turn off the news, the 24 hour reports around the globe that focus on tragedy, the economy, natural disasters, and human suffering? We have more access now to news than we ever have before. Up to the minute coverage is literally at our fingertips. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I stopped watching network news after September 11th and I am now selective in my intake of information and how I choose to receive it. I’m not suggesting that for anyone else, I am simply suggesting that being mindful of the images and amount of information we choose to put into our brains has a direct effect on our bodies.
Our nervous system responds to images as if they are real. It kicks into high gear when the brain processes stressful information even if it’s just a scary movie that gets our heart pumping. That is your body preparing itself for survival. As your brain senses danger it alerts the nervous system which releases cortisol into your bloodstream, your heart rate increases and all of your organs begin to prepare for “Flight or Fight”. It is essentially working incredibly hard to save your life from a perceived threat.
I believe that being informed about current events is a positive thing but when does it become over-saturation? How many times must we see the same images over and over of tragic situations? How much is too much?
The next time you find yourself glued to a particularly disturbing news story, which unfortunately is often readily available, take a break. Limit the time spent exposed to bad news or stressful information. Put yourself on a media diet and notice if you even miss it after a couple of days. And if you read your news online take frequent breaks and visit some photos or some other place online that makes you smile. Give your mind a feel good moment and your body will thank you.
(image courtesy of google images)