What’s your mental diet?
This summer I spent a lot of time driving. Driving through the province, driving around the city. A lot of time spent alone, thinking, looking at trees and mountains, listening to music, and countless hours of podcasts. I’ve also been reading a ton (not at the same time as driving).
You know that feeling when you’ve eaten too much and you feel tired and sluggish? Ever get that in your head? I do, when I’ve been taking in too many sights and sounds and thoughts. I can get overwhelmed by all the sensory information, and I need a break and some time to digest…
(Hmm… could meditation be considered mental fasting?)
Anyway, all this led to this post…
A lot of people these days are paying a lot of attention to what they consume, what they put into their physical body — their food diet. Even what they put onto their body is selected with the utmost care. Sunscreen and mascara made without hurting anyone’s feelings.
What about our mental diet? What are we consuming mentally? Do we pay as much attention to the media we consume? Do we choose as carefully all the things we watch, read, and listen to? Do we consider how they will make us feel? How they will change us? Even so-called “mindless entertainment” is very much absorbed into our mind. Besides that, there’s all the thoughts we dwell on. The phrases and images that loop in our head, almost subliminal and unnoticed unless we stop and listen closely. Not to mention the people we spend time with and the conversations we have. The spaces we surround ourselves with. They are full of energy, moods, vibes, even messages, and ideas… that are added to our mental content, and spend some time in us.
I may be more sensitive than most, and we can probably work on becoming more resilient, but none of us is immune to these forces.
Just as food makes up the very cells in our body, all this mental content becomes part of our fabric. It takes up space in us, has an effect on our thoughts, desires, fears, and in turn, influences our speech and actions and the entire trajectory of our lives.
I don’t think that’s dramatic at all.
So for all the time we spend choosing and making and eating and thinking about food, I wonder if we could be a little more mindful — and deliberate — about what we put into our minds.