• Stress management tip: Feed your mind the good stuff

    March 15, 2017 | curtrosengren
  • [Back to How to stop stressing so you can change the world]

    What you feed your mind has a huge impact on both how you interpret the world and what you notice to begin with.

    There’s a software programming phrase of “garbage in / garbage out.” It basically means if the data going in is garbage (flawed, inaccurate, etc.), the results coming out will be garbage as well.

    The exact same idea applies to our minds.

    The media you consume contributes to the mental models you use for “the way the world is.” So the more you pour what’s wrong in the world into your head (which is 99% of the news we consume focuses on), the more that affects how you see the world.

    When what you see is dangerous, and scary, and anger-inducing, guess what kind of world that’s going to build in your brain? Not one I would choose to live in.

    But what if what you feed your brain on a consistent basis is positive, uplifting, inspiring, and empowering? What if, instead of all the ways the world is going to hell, you saw stories about everyday people making a difference, changing the world one solution at a time?

    What if, instead of consuming more news about the plastic façade of rich and beautiful stars you’ll never live up to, you read books that help you cultivate a greater self-love and self-compassion?

    What if, instead of dumping yet another reason to fear “the other” into your mind, you sought out examples of people who are different than you making a difference you care about?

    Positive news

    Make a daily habit of looking for positive news. It can be challenging to find in the midst of most of what passes for news these days, so I put together a list of links to positive news sources to get you started.


    I started my positive morning reading practice primarily because I’m not inherently the most positive person in the morning. I realized I needed to take an intentional approach to feeling more positive.

    The very first book I read, Stone Soup for the World, was a perfect example of the potential to use books as positive inputs for our minds. Filled with stories about mostly-everyday people who were making the world a better place, it regularly left me feeling moved and inspired.

    Movies and documentaries

    Back in the day when I would go to video stores to pick out a movie to watch, my general rule was that, if it had a gun on the cover, I wouldn’t rent it. It was my simplistic way of weeding out movies that just fed me more of the same casual, toxic violence.

    Instead, I regularly look for movies and documentaries that uplift and inspire me.


    Look at the magazines you regularly consume. Do they help expand your world (whether internally or externally), or do they plant seeds of not-enoughness and fear?


    There are so many excellent podcasts out there. Many of them are available to download so you can listen to an mp3 wherever you go, whether that is while you’re driving or while you’re exercising.


    I am on the constant lookout for positive, mind-expanding videos available online. For me, these tend to be talks or interviews with subject matter experts.


    Finally, think of your conversations with family, friends, and colleagues as part of the “media” you consume. Whether you’re sitting and taking part in a marathon bitch session about what’s wrong in the world, or you’re talking about what’s good and what inspires you, it’s having an impact on your brain.

    The nutshell

    You have a choice. You can feed your brain media that reinforces a world of fear and anxiety, or you can feed it media that helps it feel more positive and empowered.

    Which one do you prefer to reinforce? The choice is yours.

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