Perspective: Are You Aware Of Your Daily Mental Diet?
Gratitude is the right attitude but I know how absolutely hard that is to keep in mind! It’s hard to remember when everywhere you turn it seems like there’s bad news. I know how hard that is to remember when there are disasters all over from what Mother Earth is wielding to the ones that are by Humankind’s hands. I know it’s hard to remember when things aren’t going well or to our liking.
But the reality is for the majority of our day we sit in an emotionally-charged turbulent bath, bathing in the waters of the muck and mire of bad news and more bad news. We listen to it, we share it, we talk about it, we drink it up and eat it by taking it into our mouths and spewing it out for someone else to eat and drink. We inhale and exhale it, day in, day out. We dream about it, we stare at it, we listen to it, we share it, we talk about it, we drink it, we inhale and exhale it, day in day out. We share it, we talk about it, we breathe it in and out, day in day out, as we race from one obligation to the next. No wonder we are so stressed out!
A steady diet of bad news, sad news topped with unhealthy helpings of stress is not the life we saw for ourselves as children. We grow up and we can forget that life is a gift. It is a miracle to be lived with gusto and appreciation. We create the world in which we live moment to moment, in-breath to out-breath, thought by thought.
Changing our perspective changes us
We’ve got to stop. We’ve got to BREATHE. Look up at the sky, it is MIRACULOUS even when it’s raining. If you live in the urban jungle you can still see the sky; so take a look at it from time to time. Say a prayer, give thanks, hold to the feeling of gratitude. Even if life is a shambles all around you, know you have the power to change your perspective. While it will not change the situation immediately, it will change how you feel about the situation. Then you clear the pathways to hearing/finding solutions. Remember, YOU are a miracle, Your life IS a miracle no matter what is going on or what the advertisers say, for each heartbeat is precious and enables the uniqueness that is You to flow through your day.
Becoming mindful of our daily mental diet
We can learn to become more aware of our thoughts, of how much time we spend in the ‘Fear Mongering Machine’ that churns away at our insides. Try this as a practice for Mindfulness. First, on social media, for every negative post you share, post 2 to 3 positive ones. Flood social media with beauty and with the wonderful things that do go on in the world every moment of every hour. You’ll still know what tragedies are going on but not to the point of drowning; and you’ll help others to feel better too.
Most often we walk around so unhappy and so unaware that we are so unhappy. Since most of the people we know are in the same boat, we take that as normal. It is NOT. Look at babies, look at children. See how in the moment they are. We were not born unhappy. Secondly, observe how much time is spent listening to cable news or absorbing it on the internet. Figure out about how much attention you give to that daily. Then take baby steps, perhaps cut that time down by 5 minutes for a one-week duration. The following week, cut out 5 more minutes of the amount of time spent inhaling bad news. Continue that practice for a month, keeping a log of how you feel. It can be a written, audio or video log. If it starts really feeling good, then reduce even more time and note how you feel.
Have fun with this and perhaps you’ll notice you can get all the bad news you feel you need to know in much less time! Or perhaps you may realize just how toxic it is and limit your time to a few soundbites.
Just as important as eating the right food
Yes, it is. The third part of this mindfulness practice is to observe what occurs first, the negative thought or the negative feeling? In my travels, some of the most joyful and grateful people I’ve had the honor to meet had so little in terms of creature comforts in their lives and immediate surroundings. But they were so giving and so full of kindness and appreciation, truly allowing their light to shine which touched me deeply. Their energy was contagious. It was not possible to sulk in their presence, and our conversations were about positive, uplifting things. See if you can inject more positive juice into that smoothie that is You!
You have no control over what others say or do
To quote the writer Joseph Campbell, “The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.” Many folks may take umbrage to that quote, but think about it. When has there been time where there was peace and no upheaval or turmoil on this earth for as long as man has been keeping records? When? And it’s not to say to ignore what is going on, but not to become consumed to the point it becomes a leech that sucks the very soul out of you.
Don’t allow it to rob your joy. Know that positive vibes trump negative ones. Observe children and their joy. That was all of us once. It never leaves us. I just gets covered up with mind stuff. We may be what we eat and we are most definitely what we think. That awareness is crucial for the optimal Mind-Body-Spirit Experience that is Life.
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