This month our friends will be in town to help celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. In preparation for their arrival, we have been overwhelmed, staying up quite late cleaning, buying food, and redecorating the guest room. As a result, we have not had time to watch much TV, read the local paper, or spend more than 20 minutes perusing the internet. As a self-admitted information junky, it is alarming – yet refreshing – that I have not missed my news hunts.
My family got its first television in the 1980s, and to a little country kid, it was heavenly. I loved watching cartoons, soaps, and public television with siblings. After school I could not wait to get home and get my fix of TV. When I grew up, I had triple the number of TVs in my home and started reading the New York Times, People, and other publications. Soon apparent was the fact that with these distractions, there appeared to be fewer hours in each day. I came to understand that time, while constant, is perceived differently when you are not attentive to it.
Many of us spend so much time filling our minds with information that we have little time to focus on the important elements of life: love, peace, contentment, health, and harmony. For example, a few months ago visiting a buddies office I counted fourteen negative or tragic stories (murder, fatalities, burglary, etc.) before the first commercial break. Though attention catching, these stories were filling my mind with images that affected my sleep and my demeanor at work the next day. I had headaches, felt sick, and was short of temper with people I considered close friends.
Even worse, the negative images led me to lose sight of important events that make life so special. I began to feel like Keanu Reeves in Johnny Pneumonic, dumping long-term memory in order to make room for recent data. While we are a long way from uploading information directly to our brains, the results of our technologically advanced society can be the same. There is a way to avoid the negative effects of such pervasive media coverage.
First, read more actual books. It has been proven that we remember more through the active process of reading than through the passive process of watching TV, YouTube videos or lurking on social media sites. Further, reading exercises your brain which, like a muscle, gets better with more exercise. Choose your reading carefully, avoiding the sensational stories of violence and destruction and opting for material that will benefit your life.
If you prefer TV, be similarly selective by watching only programs that interest you. Like my friend who eats only what she truly loves, and therefore remains thin, choose only the shows you want to watch instead of just viewing whatever is on at the time.
Pre-recording the news allows you to skip items that will not improve your quality of life. Ten minutes of quality news can inform you as well as the full program which includes harmful images and information of little personal value.
Finally, internet junkies can help themselves by checking email only twice a day and by using news filters to make your news hunts more efficient and to help you remain more productive. Time yourself on social media sites and set aside time to enjoy it rather than trying to sneak some time in. You’d be amazed at how much or your gets eaten up on social sites.
These information deprivation methods will help improve health, create more realistic relationships with the real world, and afford you more quality time with the most important person in your life – you!
Nike Roach is husband to the magnificent Nikki, father of three active boys, health and wellness coach, massage therapist, business leader, adventure travel lunatic and author of www.52waystofund.com. An active member of the business community Mr. Roach always finds time to spend with his family, friends, and loved ones bearing FREE food.