Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tune In, Turn On, Pay Attention: What is your Media Diet Doing to You

What are you filling your mind with? Buttery delicious movies with lots of explosions, sugary sweet reality shows with lots of romance and intrigue, or meaty, bloody crime dramas and medical shows?   Or do you prefer news shows that pretend to be objective and make you nod your head in agreement or make you want to throw your shoe at the television screen?  Or do you like listening to the radio?  You can find a range of song types and radio shows as varied as television shows.  Have you ever considered, though, what the ultimate impact these things are having on your perception of the world and your overall outlook? 

The effect of my media diet became clear to me after
I started having nightmares from watching too many episodes of Law and Order (SVU, Crime Unit, the original, etc.).   I was addicted to Law and Order shows for a long time, watching new episodes and reruns practically every day until I really saw how it was affecting me.  When I had a dream about someone breaking into my apartment and attacking me, I knew it was time to really pay attention to how watching this much of the show was affecting me.   

The idea of media diet is another place where mindfulness can help. By paying attention to what media we are "consuming" we may decide we do not want to consume it anymore or consume less of it or keep it the same. Just like mindlessly eating, we can sometimes
get pulled into the trap of mindlessly watching or listening. It's
like liking a song until you listen to the lyrics and realize they
contradict all your basic values.  At first, you liked the music a lot until one day, you really took the time to listen to the lyrics to see what it was about.  You may be surprised by what you hear. 

Take one day and just pay attention to your "media diet".  See if it is working for you or working against you.  If you do it, I'd love to hear about your experience!