Turn Off the Noise

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Turn Off the Noise

Group meditation with Alon at Hope Rehab Thailand

by Hope Rehab Team

  • Can you think of some potentially negative consequences of spending too much time on social media or following the news?

  • Can you remember an occasion when watching the news or engaging with social media impacted your mood in a negative way? What happened?

  • Have you ever communicated something you later regretted while engaging in social media?

Exercises To Help You Turn Off The Noise

By the end of these exercises you will have everything you need to make one simple change to your life that can reduce your stress levels, increase your productivity, and make you less prone to negative mental states. Unlike taking up a hobby, getting fit, or joining a self-improvement course, this won’t involve any kind of financial cost, and it doesn’t involve any kind of time investment either – in fact, this is going to add more time to your day.

The Universal Theory of GIGO

GIGO stands for ‘garbage in, garbage out’, and while it was originally computer geeks who came up with this term, it turns out that applies to pretty much everything. If you consume too much junk food, you won’t be surprised that it has a negative impact on your health and fitness. This is just common sense. Food isn’t the only thing we consume though is it? We also consume social media and the news, and just like bad food can damage us if we overindulge, so can the noise we tune into when we go online.

How to Turn Off the Noise

I think most of us already know that spending less time on social media or fretting over what is going on in the news would be a good thing. The problem is that when we try to pull away, we find ourselves being sucked right back again. This is because our engagement with social media has probably become habitual – e.g. we just automatically click on and scroll through Facebook. The following two exercises can help you turn off the noise and keep it turned off.

Exercise 1 – Move from a Consumer to a Producer Mentality

In South East Asia, the image of the hungry ghost might be a good description of the consumer. This supernatural entity has a hunger that can never be satisfied, so it spends its life trying to fill a hole that can never be filled. Okay, this is a bit extreme, but the point is that the more our life revolves around consumption, the more we start to act like a hungry ghost. How else would we describe someone who spends hours every day engrossed in negative news and social media even when they see it is bad for them?

Unlike the consumer, the producer focuses more on creating things. This is far more satisfying because it means they get to engage their creativity, and it may even lead to some success in life. There is a big difference between spending all day on the computer glued to Twitter, and sitting there writing your first book. Which do you think is more likely to leave you in a positive frame of mind?

So, for this exercise, rather than trying to engage less with social media, you are being asked to focus more on producing things. This could include activities such as painting, writing, making videos, playing music, or coming up with some business project. The idea here is not for you to stop consuming completely, but for you to develop far more of a producer mentality.

Exercise 2 – Time Out

Some of us are so attached to social media and the news that we will need to use more direct methods for breaking this habit. Here are some suggestions:

  • Have regular ‘digital-free’ retreats. This is a day, a weekend, a week, or even longer where you don’t go near any kind of digital device.

  • Intermittent digital fast. Intermittent fasting is all the rage for people who are trying to improve their health, and it involves only eating at certain times of the day. You can do a similar thing where you are only allowed to use social media and the news at a certain time of the day.

  • Make use of technology. There are now apps and software applications that are designed to help you reduce your time online.

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