Written by: Rachel Zentner, LPC

We all can agree that if we feed ourselves sugar, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol all the time we pretty much know what that will do to our bodies, right?  But what about what we feed our minds?  Does it matter?

As our phones get “smarter” and “smarter” it has become easier and easier to quickly, and without much thought, access unlimited amounts of content- not necessarily positive information.  Let’s look at what the research says.  According Dr. Elaine Shpugin, who wrote for Psychology Today in 2013, people watching just 15 minutes a day of negative TV news have been shown to have an increase in anxiety, depressed mood, and catastrophic thinking when it comes to their worries.

Dr. Shpugin also mentioned that in only 3 minutes in a waiting room, after reading fashion magazines, women and girls reported immediate and significant decreases in their self esteem while increasing their feelings of depression.

At breakneck speed, we have access at our fingertips to so much.  Perhaps we can take more control over what we choose to put into our minds whether we sit in front to our computers, phones, magazines or TVs.

What could be available to us with all of this content available?  Our phones are now able to alert us to our screen time usage and we can use this technology to provide us with so much good and connection.  There are countless apps available for mindfulness and meditation techniques.  An app that I often recommend and use myself is Insight Timer.  It is free and has meditations, videos and podcast interviews about many helpful topics.

Speaking of podcasts, if you aren’t familiar with this form of media it is full of positive (and negative) possibilities.  Just about every topic under the sun could be accessed including conversations and interviews with leading minds all the way to hilarious comedy to brighten your day.

Spiritual and religious folks can take comfort in the many sermons and talks available through YouTube and other platforms for you to stay inspired, connected, and close to the values that matter most to you.

The important thing to remember is that you have choices.  Just because you want to stay informed about current events and the lives of your friends and family doesn’t mean to have to inflict negativity and pain on yourself to do so.  Having boundaries with your time and what you allow into your eyes and ears is a very important health choice and one we often forget to treasure.  What we put into our bodies matters.  What we put into our minds matters.  We have the opportunity to make wise choices throughout our day… make sure you take advantage of the power you have.