For the past year I have experimented with drastically cutting out “weapons of mass distraction” (as coined by Bruce Lipton) such as TV, radio, and newsprint from my everyday life. It started for me when I began to get fed up with the advertising on television and what I felt those ads were telling me. “You’re not good enough, you don’t have enough money, you need drugs and alcohol to feel better, life is hectic, and there are people out in the world that want to kill me” were a few things I was hearing. In fact, just watching one half-hour episode of the evening news with the added bonus of a pharmaceutical ad every commercial break was enough to make me feel depressed and unhealthy.
The founder of Chiropractic, D.D. Palmer, wrote back in 1910 that poor health is a result of “thots, traumas, and toxins.” D.D. Palmer was truly ahead of his time in making this observation. Today it is fairly common knowledge that there are mental, physical and nutritional causes of ill health but in that day and age it was a stretch. We know now that we have to eat better foods and move our bodies well to be well, but most of us are guilty of disregarding what we put into our minds. D.D. Palmer equated this to a three-legged stool. If you are focusing on your physical and nutritional needs but neglecting your mental well-being, the stool will fall over.
In response to this I started to “fast” from the media. In essence I wanted to “turn off reality television and tune into reality” (Bruce Lipton again!) We unplugged the TV and stored it in the garage. On my drive to work I turned off the radio and visualized great things happening in my day. On the way home I listened to a great album or stimulating speaker to unwind (TedTalks, Spinal Column Radio). I gave up the newspaper and limited internet use to only when I was in the clinic; none at home.
There were times when I was incredibly bored at home. I had to revert back to reading books daily. When I couldn’t get myself to read I’d rent a movie and watch it on the computer. I figured at least there would be no advertisements in a rented movie. We started playing board games and we began having dinner with friends on the weekdays. My dog enjoyed much more attention and playtime. I played more too! I went to bed earlier. I was able to be more present with my patients and my results with them improved. When I did happen to catch a news piece or ad it was easier for me to read between the lines and see what message they were really trying to convey to my subconscious. In short, I think I was able focus my mind more on the “now” and less on the negative messages and distractions media presents that have no bearing on our day-to-day lives.
There are negatives to tuning out. I can’t follow politics or sports very well. I feel like an irresponsible citizen. I have no idea who I will vote for or even if I’m informed enough to vote. In my mind, however the positives outweigh the negatives. Mother Teresa was asked one time “What can we do to promote world peace?” She replied simply, “Go home and love your family.” For me it’s more important to feel connected, focused and engaged to the people and events within my day-to-day life rather than be up-to-date every hour on the latest political scandal or natural disaster on the other side of the globe.
Chiropractic at its core is focused on empowering people to thrive throughout life rather than just survive till death. When we take into account how we treat our bodies, what we eat and what we choose to put into our minds, the body heals all on its own and true wellness happens, no medication necessary. Try it for yourself. Do a one month news fast. Use the extra time you gain to do something fulfilling, engaging, or fun. Share what you discover with others. It’s enlightening to discover what lies beneath all that mindless chatter.