Turn on the news any day of the week and you are likely to hear someone got shot, a store has been robbed, our country in in debt, and horrific terrorist attacks are happening around the world. Pick up a magazine in the checkout line and learn of all the recent celebrity gossip while being bombarded with countless glorified ads. Trending music is frequently focused on drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sexual behavior. How protective are you of what you feed your brain? Just like there are healthy vs unhealthy fats we feed our body, there is a healthy level being informed vs allowing our thoughts to dwell in negativity. The latter puts people at a significant risk for anxiety disorders, angry outbursts, unhealthy habits, and depression. It’s important to understand how and why we are so strongly impacted by this risk. The challenge for individuals in our society is that negativity, drama, and gossip sells. So naturally the media business will provide what will make them the most money. The many people that feed into this cycle are now experiencing toxic thinking and showing up to our work, family functions, and community gatherings with a contagious level of stress. An example of this phenomenon is when 9-11 occurred. Many people realized after the fact that the constant replay of the horrific scenes of that dreaded day did not help us cope, but rather replayed the trauma over and over again intensifying grief and anger that were already at an all-time high. If healthy habits and a positive attitude are on your agenda for 2015, you may want to pay attention to what you feed your brain. Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Regulate your news feed. Watch or read news that provides a healthy balance of good and bad
news. Seeking out the good news and positive things going on in your community may take a
little more effort on your part, but will be incredibly refreshing and worth your time.
2. The reality is that bad things happen in our world and it is important to stay informed.
However, it is not healthy to get stuck in negativity. Try getting the gist of the story without
every nitty gritty detail if appropriate. Decide how you will use that information to make
something positive happen in the future. Giving trauma a purpose is an effective and healthy
3. Surround yourself with positive people physically and through social media. These are the
individuals that share the value of a healthy mind. It is, of course, appropriate to help people
through stressful times, but when individuals choose not to help themselves….beware….they
can quickly become toxic to your own well-being.
Written By: Kristin Woodling, LMHC