If you are like me, getting on social media or reading the news can cause emotional upheaval. Depending on what the news is, it often can trigger my anxiety. There are even times that it can alter my energy and change the course of my day because of how it affects me.
I am happy to be a sensitive person who feels things deeply. I think this is a good experience of life and I would never change it. However, for those of you who are open and sensitive like me, you know how sometimes the truth of something can strike you at such a deep chord, there is no other appropriate response but grief and tears.
Staying abreast of current events is important. It is valuable to know what is going on in the world and to get involved and let your voice be heard on topics that are important to you. However, it is also imperative to keep your own wellbeing and health in the forefront of your attention.
Here are 3 things I do to help me stay grounded and vibrating at a high level (even while staying current on what is happening in our world.)
Set a timer
It is easy with social media and cell phones in our pockets to be constantly bombarded with news. We must decide on how much input is optimal for our health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Checking our phones every 30min is not going to change the world or what is happening in it – but it will change you.
For me, my maximum news/social media saturation is 0-20 min per day. It used to be more, but these past few years I've had to firm up my boundaries to remain mentally well and emotionally vibrant.
I am also a firm believer in fasting. News and social media fasting, that is. It is important to go an entire day, or even an entire weekend without logging into social media or reading the news. All of us have people and experiences in our lives that are more important than our screens (news and social media). I recommend looking at how you spend your time and making sure that the time you spend with each experience is in alignment with how important that experience or person is to you. For example, if I am acting unconsciously, I can easily spend more time on my phone than I do with my husband. Because my husband is vastly more important to me than my phone, I find more joy, love, and connection when I live consciously and prioritize appropriately.
Each of us has a natural wisdom, and when we are constantly putting things in, we leave no time for that wisdom to come out. We need times of emptiness and silence to access our inner wisdom and be our best selves. Furthermore, when we read things that create stress for us, our bodies are filled with the stress hormone cortisol.
Christopher Bergland says, “Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease... The list goes on and on. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy.”
I witness daily how difficult it is for my clients to use their phone and computers with intention. I understand that for many people self-control around how frequently they ‘log on’ is a challenge. Remember - YOU are the boss of you. You have the ability to control where you put your focus so that you can create the life that you desire.
Working with clients on reviewing how they spend their time and realigning it with their values is some of my favorite work.
Choose the time of day that you engage
Choosing the time of day that you engage in reading news and social media is really important. It is unwise to stress yourself out right before you go to work, have dinner with your family, climb into bed, or engage in a creative process. Knowing that you might see or read something that will create an emotional response in you, you have to choose the best time to expose yourself to that input.
First and foremost, I have a strict rule to not engage with electronics for the first hour after I wake up. My inner rebel demands this behavior. "They don't own me," she says, "I own me, and the first hour of the day is mine." I agree with her. The first hour of my day sets the tone for my entire day, and how I spend those moments hold great value.
I like to engage with news and social media in the morning before I exercise. Nothing helps me manage my stress better than exercise and nature. If I am emotionally triggered by news in my feed and then I go for a run outdoors, I can come back and begin my workday in a grounded and positive energy. If I read the news up to the time that I begin my work day, I will find it difficult to hold the space, think clearly, or be creative.
If I have to ‘log-on’ in the afternoon, I will try to buffer that by sitting on my porch appreciating nature for 10 min, or having a single-person dance party. This way I make sure that when I go into the last part of my day, which for me is dinner and time with my family, I can be fully present with them and experience the depth and width of my capacity for joy (without my mind and my thoughts running amuck).
End on a positive note
I enjoy having a go-to list of websites, songs, videos, stories and poems that raise my vibration and leave me feeling upbeat, positive and hopeful about our world. It is easy to be saturated by the negative – but there is an equal (if not more) amount of positive.
People are helping each other, they are showing kindness to each other, they are caring for animals and nature, and they are working to bring more love to the world. Allow yourself to witness these acts and feel uplifted by them. Take care to gain perspective and see the entire picture so that your focus (thoughts and feelings) don't become pinpointed on the negative.
Taking a few minutes to end on a positive note is like having an after dinner mint. It leaves your brain with a sweet and refreshed palate.
The Magic of Prioritization
Prioritization is the action or process of deciding the importance or urgency of things in our life. While it sounds simple, many of us rarely utilize this tool with the wisdom and discernment necessary to make it a catalyst for creating the life of our dreams. When we allow life to choose our priorities for us, we give away our power.
Imagine your life as a rowboat out there on the waters of life. Is your boat in good condition, or does it have several leaks and a broken oar? When many of us desire to achieve our goals, pursue our dreams, or invite change into our lives, the first tool that we use is effort. We believe that more effort = better (or different) results. While this can be true, it certainly is not the truth.
Returning to the boat analogy, how effective would it be if you increased your effort, rowing your boat 5x as fast as you were before, but left the leaks in the bottom or the boat? You would continue to take on water, you’d slow down, and you’d have to take more breaks to bail out the water so that you wouldn’t sink. Now, imagine fixing all the leaks in your boat, and then returning to rowing at the same level of effort as before.
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Mindy Amita Aisling