My mother’s motto was, “You are what you eat.” Actually, it was gospel rather than a motto. I think she just about stopped short of painting it on the kitchen wall!
Please Join Us!
When: July 16, 1 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. BST; 10:30 p.m. IST
Topic: You Are What You Consume
When I was a child, I hated eating avocado. The green slipperiness of it made me want to hide in the bathroom. When it was the last food left on my plate, my mother would sing its healthy praises, while reminding me that I wasn’t going anywhere until I had eaten it.
Today, I eat avocado, but it’s still not my favorite food. However, I’ve learned to accept and embrace that what we put into our bodies is important if we want to get the most out of them.
What We Eat
A healthy diet is essential to a healthy mind and body. The nutritional content of what we eat is absorbed into our cells, and thus, our composition.
Some people find it very hard to break the junk food habit. As soon as the fix wears off, they crave more. And the common outcome is a cycle of fatigue, headaches and feeling “down.”
But food is just one of the things that we consume, and only one of the things that has the power to influence and shape us.
“Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth.”
Consume With Caution
Last year, during the height of pandemic lockdown, I became fixated with the news. I felt as if I had to know, hour by hour, what the COVID statistics looked like for countries around the world.
While I was scrolling the pandemic headlines, I invariably saw other news headlines as well. And, you know how it goes: you see a headline, you click, you read, see another headline, click, read… a phenomenon we’ve covered on the Mind Tools blog, known as “doomscrolling.”
News sites were one part of that consumption. My beloved Facebook? Well, that became an animal (or virus) of a whole different kind!
At first, the conspiracy theories made me laugh, and then they made me indignant. Who were these people who dared spread such nonsense, or try to take advantage of less-informed people?
Like the dutiful nerd that I am, I endeavored to help by pointing people to credible sources and scientific studies. But I soon discovered that some people had no interest in facts: they preferred to believe that 5G, villainous billionaires, and secretive cabals were responsible for all the woes and viruses in the world.
I soon realized that neither doomscrolling nor conspiracy battling were doing me any good. I had to take action to protect my well-being, and set time limits on news sites and social media apps.
Don’t Let Energy Vampires Consume You!
I have, for many years – doomscrolling aside! – been fussy with what I read, watch and listen to. (Blame my mother, she was strict like that.)
I don’t much like watching television because I don’t like the “fakeness” of most of it, and I often feel drained, even depressed, after watching a TV show.
I love reading, but I mind what I read, because I’ve noticed how much books influence how I think. I’m also mindful of podcasts for the same reason.
Even the music we listen to can increase or decrease our energy. I know there’s music that definitely doesn’t help me to get into the mood for a good workout! Other songs make me want to dance spontaneously. I also have “motivational songs,” and they’re not from a particular artist or for that purpose. They’re just everyday songs that make me feel ready to take on the world.
One of my friends often says, “Show me the five people who are closest to you, and I will show you who you will be in five years.”
We can’t help becoming like the people we associate with. How often do we hear, “He/she started hanging with the ‘wrong’ friends”? We don’t hear that sentence because something good has happened.
Not all “bad” company will corrupt you. Some people simply drain your energy – energy that you could have used more productively and positively.
An energy vampire of a different kind is the one that could live between your ears. You are the one who consumes everything you say to yourself, and you “hear” every thought in your own mind.
That’s reason enough to be vigilant about your thoughts, and to question the truth of what you’re thinking. My first go-to question is, “Is this the truth, or is it my perception?” The second one is, “How is my thinking helping me right now?”
About This Week’s Chat
What we eat, think, read, watch, and listen to, and who we spend time with, are all things that we “consume.” In our #MTtalk Twitter chat on Friday, we’re going to talk about how what we consume becomes part of us, and why it’s important to be mindful of our consumption.
In our Twitter poll this week, we wanted to know which area of your life is most affected by the things that you consume. Fifty percent of participants voted for “body image,” while only seven percent voted for “political views.” To see all the options and results, click here.
We’d love you to participate in the chat, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:
- Why do we talk about content “consumption”? What are the parallels with our food and drink?
- How did you first become aware that you need to be mindful of what you consume?
- How much do other people influence what you consume?
- How has your content consumption affected you mentally?
- At what point does consuming content become toxic?
- How can we ensure that we’re consuming a diverse diet of content?
Resources About Controlling Your Consumption
To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse. Note: some resources may only be available in full to members of the Mind Tools Club and Mind Tools For Business licensees.
How to Spot Real and Fake News
How to Relax After a Hard Day
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively
Personal Financial Stress and Well-Being
Nine Ways to Get the Best From Twitter
The PERMA Model
How to Take Part in Our #MTtalk
Follow us on Twitter to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To participate in the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “Latest” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. You can join the chat by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your responses.