By Monta Cooper

Good nutrition is not just for the body. We’ve all heard “you are what you eat.” But you are also what you read and listen to. With that in mind, make sure that the stuff you intellectually and spiritually consume is worthwhile. Take inventory of it. Make sure it lifts you up and points you towards who you want to become!

If it doesn’t serve you, cut it out of your life. If it brings YOU down, put IT down. You are in control of what you consume, so be aware of how it affects you and choose wisely.

Storytime:

I love a good murder mystery. My favorite movies, shows, books all seem to center around a good Agatha Christie-style murder mystery. So a few years ago my husband and I got into binge-watching a popular murder mystery show. It had become part of our nightly routine. We would watch after the kids went to bed and as we were getting ready for bed. The show wasn’t super gruesome, I’ve never liked gory stuff. But it was British, had great characters, was well-written…all the things I usually like. I was enjoying it for a while until I started to notice a correlation between watching this show and some bizarre nightmares I was having. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing a mile-a-minute, almost every night! I finally decided to give up the show, even though I was really enjoying it (and had many seasons left to go I might add!)

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Pretty immediately my dreams started to go back to normal…you know, dreams that I was always running across campus late for an exam. But it wasn’t until I cut it out of my daily routine that I started to notice other ways in which it had affected me. This is what I noticed:

  • It made me more paranoid. It made me look at everyone sideways….wondering, “is that stranger over there an average nice guy or a rapist/serial killer?!”
  • It made me sour towards other people, so instead of looking for the best in others, I was looking for the worst. (And can we just acknowledge that whatever you look for, generally you will find.) So I was finding a lot of the worst in others.
  • I was generally sadder about the state of the world. Instead of seeing the good around me, I was more focused on the crimes and general degradation of society.

Now I’m not condemning Agatha Christie’s influence on entertainment (Knives Out is still the best movie I saw last year), and this is just my personal experience, but it’s good to be mindful of how what YOU consume affects YOU. If you’re not sure how some form of entertainment is affecting you, take it out of your “diet” for a week and see what changes you notice. If it doesn’t serve you, replace it with something else. You’ll be glad you did!

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