Are You Soakin? It Up?

?And holding it way down inside you like an old sponge? Be careful. Just like an old sponge that's held its liquid a little too long, we may start to get stinky in a day or two. I'm referring to "soaking up" all that wonderful information that comes to us mainly through our televisions, radios and computers. Information that is then refortified and nourished through conversations with our friends or relatives.

It's unfortunately a fact of life. Every minute of every day, the media presents "news" that is frequently disturbing. Coverage of terrorist acts, wars, airline crashes, natural disasters ? all kinds of information that show, sometimes in graphic detail, the tragic events of our world and the how they are impacting the lives of our fellow man. As I write this, the TV is blanketed with video footage, stories, commentary, interviews and speculation related to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The devastation is truly mind-boggling.

Here's the problem. Many of us humans have a tendency to become over-focused on these events. For some strange reason, beyond a reasonable desire to be informed, we find ourselves sitting in front of our televisions or our computers viewing, listening to and reading everything we can about the current "terrible event". We are "soakin' it up"!

The unfortunate result is that we soon start to feel the negative emotions associated with our current focus. Don't get me wrong. It's normal ? and good ? to empathize ? to feel compassion toward those people who are experiencing tough times. That's just a nice expression of our love toward our fellow man. It's not good for us personally however, to dwell on the negatives ? to continually shove this stuff into our little brains to ferment into mind sludge. Whether we consciously realize it or not, it won't take long for our bodies to respond to this mental goo. We may find that we're not feeling quite as well as we did a few days ago. We may find it harder to deal with the pressures of our personal lives. We may notice that our patience level has dropped somewhat ? that we're now kind of cranky and out of sorts. Whatever the effect, it's our body's normal reaction to a bombardment of negatives.

So here's a suggestion. If you find that you've been spending a lot of time in front of your TV or computer soaking up negatives - and you are having a tendency to "feel" the emotions associated with this mental input, take a break from it. Switch to the cartoon channel, watch a comedy video, take a walk, bathe the dog, read a book, work on your stamp collection, play with your kids, mow the lawn, go to the mall ? anything that will divert your attention away from the yucky stuff and more toward those things you enjoy doing. Give your mind a healing dose of positives. Trust me ? you'll feel better?

Gene Simmons, through NuPathz.com, provides an easy reading self-help blog, articles, quotations, thoughts and links along with affordable self-help and self improvement books & materials - all designed to help folks find the road to a more enjoyable lifestyle, to pass on some of life's "secrets for survival" in a chaotic world & offer a few smiles along the way. It's a down-to-earth, simple approach to discovering a better life. You can visit Gene at http://www.nupathz.com/

In The News:

What Happens to Your Body During the Fight or Flight Response?  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
Managing Holiday Stress  Texas A&M University
Stress management during exams  The Tribune India
Fighting the silent stress epidemic  The New Indian Express
Mind Over Matter Bhutan  Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper
Stress relief  Warwick Beacon
YET graduates 19 students  Nassau County Record
3 Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle  The UCSD Guardian Online
Stress Management for Nurses  www.oncnursingnews.com/

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