“Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that propel you into positive action.” (Steve Marceboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
We all know what good nutrition is for the body, whether we follow it or not. Most people have experienced eating the wrong thing and feeling ill to one degree or another (e.g., food poisoning). And most people know how much better you feel when you eat all the right things in the right amounts.
What we seem to discount however, is the ill effects that the wrong nutrition for the mind can have. We go throughout our day and listen to co-workers spreading negativity about the boss or the company, we listen to gossip about a friend or neighbor, we hear pundits ranting on television about some issue or person with whom they disagree (we often mistake this for “news”), we watch movies that depict cruel violence, and read hateful comments on social media. Sometimes we have to endure being around a negative person.
We pass a lot of this off as being “informed” or just being entertained. What we don’t realize is that we are often feeding our mind poison. We are feeding it information and programming it, much like programming a computer. The mind will store and process this information, and it does affect not only how you perceive yourself, others and the world; it also affects how you respond to life, and the actions that you take or do not take toward ultimate fulfillment in your life.
The mind is powerful, and it is also very delicate. It can pick up information that is not even audible. It picks up signals that are broadcast through thoughts, emotional energy, and other means.
Yes, we do have a frontal lobe that can reason and filter out some of the misinformation; but we are still influenced in other areas of our consciousness and even in our brains (the nucleus accumbens/emotional center). Some parts of our brains and of our consciousness do not reason and process information. They simply react to it almost by reflex. With enough negative input, even a naturally positive person can begin to think in distorted ways that can throw them off course in life. Many of my patients through the years have told of having happy childhoods, only to be completely thrown off course in adolescence or early adult life by negative manipulative people who came into their lives promising more excitement. Many were thrown off course in later adulthood. With a lot of positive input these people were able to get back on course in life.
We all need to be more aware of the influences in our lives and how they are affecting us. Try being around progressive, inspiring influences that will propel you to something truly fulfilling and meaningful in your life.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. January 25, 2017