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Ensuring That The Content I Absorb Positively Impacts My Life


We live in an era surrounded by entertainment, advertisements and noise. It seems to have become the norm that we want to constantly distract ourselves from the world around us.

No longer can we stand in a lift, wait for a coffee or pass the time at a bus stop without pulling out our phones to stare at our screens. As soon as we leave work we plug into Spotify or listen to a podcast on our walk home. When we get through the door the television or YouTube is switched on, just for a bit of ‘background noise’. Even first thing on a morning, or just as we’re falling asleep, there is a need to scroll pointlessly through pages and pages of social media.

But where is the point at which we cut off? How do we ensure that the content we absorb is positively impacting our lives? I know that for me, a lot of what I consume doesn’t add any sort of value. In fact, I feel as though a lot of content that I absorb, actually negatively impacts me my lifestyle.

There is a definite notion of comparison in the online world. It is hard not to look at things and want the perfect lives that are being portrayed on our television screens and social media pages. 

I for one feel as though I need to change my habits when it comes to online/social media content. I want to act more purposefully and mindfully. I want to pick and choose what I want to bring into my life, as opposed to just mindlessly absorbing anything and everything. I also want to limit the amount of time that I spend absorbing content. Sometimes it seems as though I am constantly “plugged in” as it were. As though I am always listening/watching/reading something online, like I’m in a constant state of distraction.

However, if we are more mindful about what it is we want to listen to or watch, I think that it will in turn become more meaningful.

Television


There are so many amazing television shows available at the moment, I’m looking at you Netflix! And although it is great that there are so many programs and films to choose from, it can become a little over bearing. I know that “My List” on Netflix is becoming bigger and bigger, but the truth is, we just don’t have enough time to watch everything. I receive recommendations here and there for various films and television shows, but I feel as though I need to really pick and choose what I want to watch in an attempt to be more mindful.

I am so guilty for putting something on the telly with the idea that I will just ‘have it on in the background’. So if I’m cooking, cleaning, blogging or even just painting my nails, the TV will usually be switched on. I have started to try and actively change this mind-set however, because I know that I’m not actually absorbing this content in a very positive way. The TV is switched on, purely to act as a distraction, but I’m not actually taking anything away from what I’m watching.

I have found that one of the best ways to watch something in a mindful way, is whilst I’m in the bath. I would say that I have a bath twice a week (don’t worry – I do shower everyday as well!) and for me, they are a great way to relax and unwind. I find that I am away from all distraction as I can’t walk away, I can’t be on my phone (I’m waaaay to clumsy and would definitely drop it into the water!) and so I am completely focused - so I set up my laptop and watch something. As in, actually watch something and not use it as a distraction, or be distracted by something else.

Podcasts & Music


I love listening to Podcasts and I think that they are such a great source of entertainment. However, I find that these too can sometimes act as a bit of a distraction, and often at times they seem to just be ‘background’ noise. For example, I would often listen to a podcast whilst I cleaned or did a food shop, however I would find myself zoning out. I wouldn’t actually be listening to what was being said on the podcast, because I was distracted by something else.

Much like my relationship with the television, I was finding that I was mindlessly absorbing the content, and in turn, it was becoming a negative impact. So now I listen to podcasts when I know I’m not distracted and can fully appreciate what it is I’m listening to. So if I’m doing cardio at the gym, traveling on public transport or walking to work, I’ll plug in and get listening. 

It can be argued that Music is perhaps the most inspiring art form, but I’m not entirely sure that there is a negative way to absorb it. There is however a way in which you can absorb music mindfully. I love to sometimes lie quietly in the bath with my eyes closed and just listen to a great album from start to finish. I find it really therapeutic, and it provides a lovely sense of calm. 

Books


I find that when I’m reading a book, it is one of the only times that I am actually fully absorbed in something. There is little to no chance of my mind wondering, or  attempting to multitask and therefore I feel a really sense of escapism. 

I guess it’s a similar sense of escapism people that play video games must feel. Some may see these activities are a bit of a waste of time, or that they don’t put time aside to read because they feel as though they should be doing something “better” or “more productive” with their time. However, no matter what you read, I think that it is really beneficial.

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I have been trying more and more to set some time a side to read (hasn’t everyone??) In fact, I’m currently writing up an autumnal read list post, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. And I really like to read physical books, but I have a kindle and I often find it easier to look online for suggestions and inspiration. There are huge ebook libraries that have millions of books to choose from that you can filter down into genres of interest. I think that the content we absorb through reading is extremely positive and beneficial. It allows our mind to focus on one thing, and one thing alone in that moment, without the distraction or noise of the world around us.

There is of course no right or wrong way of absorbing content, and everyone’s personal preferences differ on the type of content as well as the volume. For me, I felt as though I was absorbing way too much, in a world that is already so loud. As a result, I felt the need to be more mindful and attempt to absorb entertainment and online content in a controlled way, in the hope that it would have more of a positive impact on my life. 

Madolyn
xxx

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