I really need to go on a diet.
It all gets too much. And I should have known it would come to this: devouring everything that was in front of me, all day long, the same again and again. It was bound to go wrong. And at a certain point you just know, you’ve gone way too far.
When I mention the word ‘diet’ you may think of fresh juices, lots of veggies, exercise and no more ice cream or chocolate, but then I have to disappoint you. Although I live my life in a healthy way and love all kinds of fruit and cover a lot of miles by walking, there’s no way I can live a day without ice cream, let alone chocolate. No, I’m talking about a different kind of diet. One that has to do with emotions.
A diet of emotions, is that really necessary? Yes, I think it is.
We may not be aware of this, but our senses consume a lot of things that can trigger an emotional response in our body.
Just think about it; how does your body feel after watching all the news on television about things that go wrong in the world. How do you feel after hearing others discuss subjects you disagree on. Do you feel relaxed and lighthearted and do you have no trouble falling asleep at night? Or are all the muscles in your body tensed to the max and you hear yourself angrily talking back to your tv or computer screen?
And how does this affect the rest of your day? And the way you respond to the people around you?
The moving images of television shows, movies and games and the sounds and words of music have an equally impact on how we feel. Listening to a song can make us feel melancholic. Watching a story and being caught up in it, can make us identify with the characters. When we’re submerged in the stories of gangsters, monsters and super heroes we may carry the same feelings of fear and stress into our own world and may engage in a struggle with others.
Sounds and images can also be the source of positive feelings. When we get inspired and find our strength by watching a heroine or hero win the day. When we are energized from playing a game or find the distraction we need. A humorous scene can provide a necessary perspective on a challenging situation we know.
I am not saying that one is better than the other. Some people are better equipped in handling stress and emotions than others. No, what I like to say is this:
Are we aware of the effects that these images and sounds have on our body?
Do we know that we can choose to have a balance of anger, drama, suspense, humor and love in our life?
Are we aware that a mix of these feelings is important to us?
Please, don’t get me wrong: I am not encouraging you to dismiss everything (situations or people) that feel difficult to you or to suppress what you feel. I truly believe that there is strength in engaging your feelings (good and bad) and that there is something to gain from it. By learning to look at your life from a different perspective. To heal your old wounds and to take responsibility to change your life for the better.
But I also strongly believe in a emotional healthy body. And that, is something you can do for yourself.
Every day you have a choice in what it is you want to absorb with your senses and what you allow into your body.
I’ve chosen to not follow the news on television anymore. I’ve noticed how the images and sounds on television have a strong emotional effect on me . Instead I’ve selected a number of local, national and international newspapers which I follow on Twitter and through Blendle. Reading the news gives me a more tranquil experience so that I can consume it better. An added plus: I can pick the moment which is most comfortable for me to read.
Currently I’m working on stories about emotions and sensitivity based on my own life experiences. I like what I’m doing, but sometimes writing about it causes my own emotions to resurface. At the same time I want to keep up in my field of work by watching documentaries and reading articles about these subjects and about emotional neglect. But I’ve learned that after a full day of writing about difficult subjects it’s better to leave the documentary and reading for another day.
After reading this, you may think: ah…just think about something positive. That will make things better for you. It sounds great and simple, but it’s not that simple for everyone. Especially for those with difficult emotional past experiences. Even if you’ve worked on healing these experiences, they can still trigger an emotional response. Especially when you’re not feeling too well.
A laugh a day keeps the shrink away
Some people are already aware of the emotional responses in their body. Others find it difficult to understand exactly what they feel or are ignoring their body’s responses entirely. Unconsciously they absorb large amounts of suspense, anger and drama for too long without adding some humor or love to the mix. Causing them to emotionally crash later in life, and wondering why this happened to them.
That is why I’m going on a diet.
Why I’m going to consume a variety of lots of different things. A documentary here, some political news there, with some walks in stunning nature and meetings with funny and sweet friends on the side. And whenever I feel that I’ve absorbed too much drama and difficult things, I add some humor to the mix. With thanks to the endless reruns of The Big Bang Theory and Comedy Central starting all 10 seasons of Friends again. That is how I keep my emotional balance and how I make sure I fall asleep at night with ease.
People always say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ whenever they talk about living a healthier life. Thanks to Joey and Chandler and to Sheldon Cooper from now on I say:
a laugh a day keeps the shrink away!
Copyright images: Historical Fiction by Tyler Shields