Friday, May 20, 2011

"Unplugging: Taking a Media Break"

"Unplugging: Taking a Media Break"
by The DailyOm

"Taking a break from media in all forms is like a cleanse for your soul. In this modern age, we seldom question the pervasive presence of the media. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, telephones, and websites are part of most people’s everyday experiences. They enable us to stay informed while sometimes taking us on amazing journeys. But the content and experiences that these outlets offer also consume space in our minds that can have a profound effect on our emotional state. If you are someone who feels like your life is oversaturated with the “buzz” that comes from the media, you may want to consider taking a break. A media fast involves not watching television, reading any newspapers or magazines, checking or sending any e-mails, or even talking on the phone.

On the simplest level, undertaking this fast will free up thinking space. When you are constantly being bombarded with signals coming from outside sources, it can be hard to disassociate yourself, particularly if what you are hearing or reading is negative or stressful. Avoiding the media, for a few weeks, or even just a few days, can help you center yourself. The fast may even introduce you to creative aspects of yourself that you didn’t know existed, as you enjoy some quiet time and reconnect with other interests. We may feel like something is lacking from our lives during the first few days of a fast. But it is this emptiness that opens up the space for a more expansive and clutter-free life.

Research has shown that both news and television programming can have an intense effect on mood, even causing sadness and anxiety. Without the “noise” of the media running through your head, you are freer to focus your attention inward. Ideas will present themselves to you more readily, and you will find yourself available to revel in the small joys of your own life. You also will be freer to live in the present moment, rather than focusing on what’s going on in the news or your favorite soap opera. A media break can also help you develop a more conscious relationship with news and fictional entertainment. When you aren’t continuously subjected to the media, you are able to look at what you are seeing or reading more objectively. Taking a break from the media may also give you a greater sense of calm, balance, well-being, and a new perspective on life."

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