If you are like me, logging onto Facebook or reading the news can be an emotional upheaval. Depending on what the news is, it can even become an anxiety trigger. At it’s worse; it can alter my energy and change the course of my day because of how it affects me.
I am happy to be a sensitive person who feels things deeply. I think this is a good experience of life and I would never change it. However, for those of you who are open and sensitive like me, you know how sometimes the truth of something can strike you at such a deep chord, there is no other appropriate response but grief and tears.
Staying abreast of current events is important. It is valuable to know what is going on in the world and to get involved and let your voice be heard on topics that are important to you. However, it is also imperative to keep your own wellbeing and health in the forefront of your attention.
Here are 3 things I do to help me stay grounded and vibrating at a high level (even while staying current on what is happening in our world.)
Set a timer
It is easy with social media and cell phones in our pockets to be constantly bombarded with news. We must decide on how much input is optimal for our health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Checking our phones every 30min is not going to change the world or what is happening in it – but it will change you.
For me, during the week, my maximum news/social media saturation is about 45 min. I usually check in with the world in the morning for around 30min, and then some days I check in again in the late afternoon for 10-15min.
I am also a firm believer in fasting. News and social media fasting, that is. It is important to go an entire day, or even an entire weekend without logging into social media or reading news on the computer. All of us have people and experiences in our lives that are more important than our screens (news and social media). I recommend looking at how you spend your time and making sure that the time you spend with each experience is in alignment with how important that experience or person is to you in your life. For example, if I am acting unconsciously, I can easily spend more time on Facebook than I do with my husband. Because my husband is vastly more important to me than Facebook, I find more joy, love, and connection when I live consciously and prioritize appropriately.
Each of us has a natural wisdom, and when we are constantly putting things in, we leave no time for that wisdom to come out. Furthermore, when we read things that create stress for us, our bodies are filled with the stress hormone cortisol.
Christopher Bergland says, “Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy.”
I witness daily how difficult it is for my clients to use their phone and computers with intention. I understand that for some (many) people self-control around how frequently they ‘log on’ is a challenge. However, when most people allow how it is affecting their health to really sink in, it becomes obvious that it has to monitored by your self-control.
Choose the time of day that you engage
Choosing the time of day that you engage in reading news and social media is really important. It is unwise to stress yourself out right before you go to work, have dinner with your family, climb into bed, or engage in a creative process. Knowing that you might see or read something that will create an emotional response in you, you have to choose the best time to expose yourself to that input.
I like to engage with news and social media in the morning before I exercise. Nothing helps me manage my stress better than exercise and nature. If I am emotionally triggered by news in my feed and then I go for a run outdoors, I can come back and begin my workday in a grounded and positive energy. If I read the news up to the time that I begin my work day, I will find it difficult to hold the space, think clearly, or be creative.
If I ‘log-on’ in the afternoon, I will try to buffer that by sitting on my porch appreciating nature for 5 min, or having a single-person dance party. This way I make sure that when I go into the last part of my day, which for me is dinner and time with my family, I can be fully present with them and experience the depth and width of my capacity for joy.