Media Underload! The Stress Reducing Psych-Diet

by : Dr. Robert Eubanks



The war, taxes, the economy, increased health problems, crime on the rise, overwhelming divorce rate, corruption in corporate America, and, oh yes, Janet at the Super Bowl! Where does it end? With so much going wrong, whats going right in the world?

It is times like these that I find myself mired down in the muck spewing forth from every media outlet. Like water dripping on a sponge, this negativity begins to seep in and pervade my thoughts and influence my reactions to the world around me. Often, a bad attitude or a grumpy mood can be traced directly to what I have been exposing myself to.

Look at many of the recent studies about TV violence and childrens behavior. The evidence is clear that the thoughts and actions of kids are significantly altered when exposed to violent acts for extended periods of time. Are adults any different? Sure its important to keep up with current politics, the war, the economy and even Pop culture but when is enough, enough? Dont get me wrong, Im not vowing to stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and yell, Find a happy place! Find a happy place!

I still follow the news. There are very significant events happening in the world these days and I do believe that it is important for me to be informed. I also enjoy watching a few TV shows. Just because Im cutting back on my media consumption doesnt mean that Im shutting the Soprano family out of my life! So a few people get whacked here and there. That doesnt mean that there are not some redeeming qualities to gangster life (okay, so there arent). Regardless, the Sopranos and I been though too much together over the past six seasons and recently one of my favorite actors, Steve Buscemi, joined the cast.

I have, however, made a specific effort to be very aware of the information I consume. Along with this effort I have created a diet, of sorts. Balancing the protein, carbohydrates and fat that I eat is no different from balancing the harshness that I partake of from news and entertainment; all in moderation, with a little exercise on the side.

The moderation mantra is, of course, a good philosophy for most areas of life but most particularly for that, which enters our minds. I recently heard an NPR interview with Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was talking about the impact that health and fitness has had on his life and the role that it continues to play. He stated (now, read this with your best Arnold accent), A healthy body is a healthy mind. While certainly this holds true Id like to take that a step farther (using an Arnold accent, of course), A healthy mind is a healthy world! Ready for a diet?

© 2004 by Dr. Robert A. Eubanks

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