Photo Cred: Gina Scott
At any time of the day or night, we can flip on our television or open our tablet or phone and be immersed in information. On one hand, this exposure to such a vast amount of knowledge and data can be incredible and fast. On the other hand, sifting through all of the noise that this causes can be nearly impossible and quite overwhelming!
If you are already prone to feeling stress or anxiety, our “always on” world isn’t doing you any favors. The human mind is a powerful tool, but one that is fragile if misused. With a 24 hour news cycle and social media platforms, our minds are constantly inundated with unnecessary junk.
You may not realize it, but when you hear a news story about how the world may come to an end, your mind continues to process that information long after you’ve changed the channel. In the news example, your mind is subconsciously trying to cope with the possibility of certain doom! We can even compare ourselves to others and wonder “Am I not good enough?” We needlessly put our mind through the ringer when we are constantly exposing it to these stimuli.
Now, compound all of that with the “normal” stress and anxiety you feel on a day-to-day basis: juggling demands from work; needs around the house; time spent with friends and loved ones fostering important relationships. By themselves, these are already a lot to deal with! Throw in the barrage of media from the TV and our phones, and we’re in hyperdrive. What can we do? How do we make it stop?
DISCONNECT. STEP BACK. BREATHE. FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.
When it all seems too much to handle and your stress level is reaching its peak, just unplug. Even if just for 15 minutes at the beginning. Find time in your day where you don’t have a TV on and where you’re not looking at your phone. Just be present in the moment.
Find someplace comfortable. Someplace where you feel safe and away from distractions. Focus on your breathing. When you focus on your breathing, you’re telling your mind that it is okay to slow down and take a break from processing of all that “stuff.” Like any good exercise, this takes practice. But just like any type of practice, the more you do it, the better you become. Finding 15 minutes is no longer a chore, but part of your daily routine, and a routine that will leave you feeling alive, powerful, and in control of your life, even in this chaotic world!
The mind is a beautiful thing, but we must take the time to care for it. When you step back and focus your energy inward, your mind can take a break. You’ve done yourself and your mind an incredible favor.
Licensed counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.