Life & Stuff

How Consumption Affects Our Health

At some point or another, most adults will consider trying to fix or perfect the following:

  • Their hair
  • Skin
  • Body shape
  • Muscle tone/definition
  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Relationships
  • Productivity
  • Finances
  • Confidence
  • Fitness in general
  • Mental or emotional health
  • And so on

Trying to fix and perfect these things, I think we all can agree, is a pretty difficult task.

What if I told you that there’s one thing that sums up and helps in all these areas? One thing that if you focus on that, you will see results in all areas of your life?

Yes, you guessed it from the title, it’s consumption.

I’m talking two big things: what you put into your body and what you put into your mind.

Everyday we are consuming things: food, drinks, medicine, entertainment, social media, conversations, opinions, energy, and so on. In fact, in this modern world, we are OVERconsuming these things. And what we feed our bodies and our minds has a substantial affect on all areas of our lives.

 

Food

Let’s talk about food. What we eat; what we put into our bodies, matters. Fact. People talk so highly of exercise, but you will not be the typical idea “fit and healthy” if you’re putting toxic things into your body.

Toxic things we put into our bodies:

  • Drugs (hard no) and alcohol (excessively)
  • Processed foods
  • Hormones and chemicals injected into the meat we eat
  • Steroids
  • Medicine we don’t really need

 

Please, do not get me wrong: I am not a vegan. I am not an animal righs activist (although, I want to know more and do hate how we treat animals most of the time). I, too, consume these toxic things, but I want to try to stop, hence this post.

 

Some of our aliments or problems with our bodies and fitness can be helped or eradicated by a change in diet. It won’t happen overnight, like some magic pill (which, let’s be honest, we all would rather), instead, a longlasting change in our diet will have lasting detrimental affects on our quality of life…

  • Better sleep
  • Better digestion
  • Fighting fit organs
  • Healthier skin
  • Longer, healthier hair
  • Extended lifespan
  • Healthier bowel movements
  • Better eyesight
  • Stronger bones
  • Slow or remove the chance of certain diseases

 

I’m not someone who wants to talk too deeply about things I don’t know enough about. It’s good to admit what you don’t know. To admit to having little knowledge. But I am educating myself about food, diet, and nutrition. About the chemicals and behind-the-scenes activity of our food industry. I hope you do, too.

But if you take anything away from this post, let it be this:

Be conscious of what you’re putting into your body and where it comes from. Awareness, mindfulness and conscious consumption can and literally will save your life.

 

Don’t overeat. Don’t undereat. Don’t eat toxic foods. Don’t excessively eat or drink things that aren’t healthy. Have balance. Seek moderation. Don’t eat and then punish yourself. Don’t exercise as punishment.

Love your body, take care of it; let food be love notes to your body (and mind).

 

Media

This is a big one, especially right now. We are trapped at home and so we have little more to do than to watch TV, watch the news, and be on social media.

And it’s hurting us all.

What we watch, what we see, is important. Without us truly knowing or quantifying it, these things are affecting our mental health and emotions. It’s not even just “negative” news, like about the virus or the death of yet another black man; it’s all of it.

 

Why our modern world of excessive media is toxic for us:

  • Overstimulation: we’re bored easily, get addicted, can’t find as much pleasure in the smaller things or a slower lifestyle 
  • Seek quick gratification and dopamine hits
  • Less creation, more consumption
  • Distraction
  • Poorer attention and focus
  • Comparison, competition and jealousy
  • Unfair expectations on oneself
  • Poor eyesight
  • Addiction (when you constantly pick up your phone to check social media, even though you literally just put it down; or when you have a spare minute without anything to do, so you go on your phone)
  • Lower self-esteem/ seeking outside validation from the social media world

This is just to name the ones that come to my mind. I’m not saying let’s scrap social media, and the news is bad for us, and we shouldn’t ever watch TV. That wouldn’t make sense; I’m introverted and any indoor activities are my go-to!

BUT…

We need to do some important things to ensure our mental and emotional health isn’t too negatively affected and influenced by what we’re consuming:

  • Cut our screen time down
  • Don’t allow notifications on our phones (they steal our attention away)
  • Consider deleting the apps off our phones (therefore you only consciously consume on your computer, and will naturally spend less time on these things)
  • Tailor our feeds to suit what is motivating, inspiring, good for our health, and important (why look at things that make you feel bad or hate yourself or are offensive or toxic etc?)
  • Keep up with the news and the wider world, but limit our time doing so (perhaps set a specific “news check” time and don’t consume outside of that)
  • When in a low mood, don’t consume

 

Opinions and Judgement

And the last form for consumption that I’ll discuss in this specific post is the opinions and judgements of others.

Let me just say quickly: I’m not saying getting advice from people is bad or that people shouldn’t ever listen to criticisms from others. Criticism can, of course, be constructive and positive and needed. Sometimes, people see things in us that we can’t see for ourselves. Or, they offer a perspective that can help push us forwards and open our minds.

BUT!

What I am saying is that, just like the above points, we need to just be more careful about what we are consuming. To take stock of a few key things that could be affecting our mental and emotional (even physical!) health:

  • Whose opinion or judgement do you listen to most? 
  • Where does the power lie in this relationship?
  • How does this opinions make you feel?
  • Do you reject your own opinions, feelings, and perspectives?
  • Do you seek validation from others for your life choices?
  • How’s your confidence and self-esteem doing?

 

As Brene Brown says, we should take on the opinions and judgements of a very small amount of people. She says their names should fit on a very small piece of paper.

But honestly, is your list that small? Or, like me, is your list far longer than it should be?

Are you listening to, and being affected by, the opinions of people who you don’t even know that well? Or even, god forbid, strangers on the internet?

Again, we should try to listen to perspectives and advice that might be helpful. But these things should go through our own filter and we need to ask ourselves (open and honestly): Is this useful? Is this true? Is this good for me (or others)?

“Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.” – Pinterest

 

In this internet age, everyone is spreading their opinions around like confetti, with very little attention (or care, perhaps) to the damage it does. So, be careful what you’re spreading around, and be careful whose opinions you’re consuming.

 

Last thoughts:

Never before have we had so much to eat, watch, entertain ourselves with, and do. We are in a culture of abundance. Excessive and all-consuming abundance. The sheer scale of it is overwhelming. We’d never be able to read every book, watch every show or film, eat every food option, or do every activity. 

There’s just too much, and trying to do it all is a recipe for failure.

Instead, we don’t need MORE. We need much, much less. We can’t cancel everything out. We can’t change the world. But we can control where our own focus goes, and what we choose to consume.

If you truly want to develop yourself. If you truly want a healthy lifestyle in terms of phsyical, mental and emotional health, then you simply need to watch what you consume.

Consume less, and just be.

 

Sincerely,

S. xx

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