We’re bombarded with negative information through the Internet, news channels, and other mediums. Constantly consuming negative reporting from the web and the news can have an adverse effect on how we view life and ourselves. Politics, crime, and world disasters are playing on a constant loop in the news and social media timelines, which can contribute to feeling a level of despair. Anyone can easily begin to feel hopeless if personal safeguards aren’t put in place. We all want to be aware of what’s going on in the world, but we have to place personal limitations on the types of information we’re paying attention to. We want to ensure we’re consuming more positive information than the negative stuff.
How can we bring some balance, so that we stay abreast of current world affairs, but guard our hearts and minds at the same time?
1. Place limits on how much news you watch. I know, I know...we want to stay glued to our monitors to keep up with what’s going to happen next in the White House and on the streets of major cities, while keeping up with other pressing issues that we’re all concerned about. But you can still remain well informed by limiting the number of days a week you watch the news. For instance, what would happen if you decided to watch the news (including news headlines on social media timelines) only two days a week for 30 minutes at a time? Imagine the difference it would make in your overall joy.
2. Nurture your soul. Nourishing our spirits through daily prayer can help make the shift from feeling hopeless to optimistic. Prayer helps to clear your mind, it creates internal peace, and it decreases stress. “Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
3. Elevate your mind. Listen to inspiring and uplifting information in the form of personal development/motivational messages that are offered as podcasts, videos, seminars, music, and books. There are many encouraging messages that you can easily pull up on YouTube. Here’s a fantastic video with Michael Hyatt, Michele Cushatt, and Lewis Howes. It can help shift your mind to a more optimistic view of life. The message discussed in the video is not directly related to this topic, but it’s an example of how you can get a quick dose of elevating material at the tips of your fingers.
Balance is always the key to life. I believe in staying up-to-date on local and world affairs. However, protecting our hearts is essential to maintaining our joy. Stay informed, but place limits so that it’s not at the expense of your peace of mind.
We all want to live our best life, but “stuff” tends to get in the way. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the demands of our families, jobs, and problems, but we have more control than we realize in how we live it all out. It’s about simplifying our days, in order to get the most out of life. That requires us to de-clutter our schedules by removing activities that don’t really benefit us, and instead only serve as a distraction. Certain events and activities may be a good cause, but you have to determine if it aligns with your values, goals, and overall purpose. Just because an opportunity is good or profitable doesn’t mean that it is right for you. Learning to say “no” to some invitations is a part of that process. It prevents over commitment-itis and it helps to stay focused on what matters most to you.
A little courage is all it takes to place firm boundaries to protect your time and your life. It’s not always easy turning down invitations and what appears to be an opportunity. However, when you are clear on your core values and your purpose, it becomes a lot easier to walk away from solicitations with confidence whenever it’s necessary. The boldness comes from consistently making the tough choices to remove the “stuff” to create more margin in your life for what makes life meaningful for you. The outcome of those choices allows you to live more beautifully by spending your days doing what you love.
Our brains have been highly underrated in the benefits it offers. Recent studies have shown that we have more control than previously thought in rewiring our own brains. Most, if not all, people know that exercise improves our heart and body health. Now it has been discovered that exercise improves our cognitive abilities, decreases anxiety, improves memory, and so much more. Dr. Ratey, clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, explains, “When we exercise…we’re also exercising the areas of the brain involved in the full suite of cognitive functions.” In other words, movement promotes the growth of new cells and balances neurotransmitters in the brain. This activity increases learning capabilities, the capacity to focus, self-control, and it even tempers attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Since movement stimulates new cell growth (neurogenesis) and the expansion of cellular connections (neuroplasticity), we can use exercise as a tool to address problems that may be impeding our ability to live our best life. In one particular study, a group of sedentary people between the ages of sixty to seventy-nine exercised 3 times a week over a period of six months. At the end of the experiment, the group was shown to have an increase in brain volume concluding that cell growth occurred, ultimately “reversing cell deterioration that is associated with aging,” as Dr. Ratey described. Exercise is not only medicinal, but it is also essential for optimum living. So get moving, the quality of your life depends on it.
For further study, I highly recommend Dr. John Ratey’s book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
Alice is an Educator, Performance Coach, Speaker, and Author. She loves brokering peace, purpose & productivity to help leading ladies awaken their gifts to influence their world.