The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Fills Your Mind Will Shape You ...

Years ago I decided that there were certain kinds of images and stories I just didn't need filling up my mind. From time to time, my dreams can be very disturbing and I chose not to give my subconscious a whole lot of additional material to play with. So, I started avoiding graphic horror and violence in the movies, news items on TV splashed with gore and destruction playing over and over again to fill the 24 hour news cycle. I just didn't need that extra, awful material floating around in my mind for the nightly mind movies.

Turns out this was a good decision according to Dan Gottlieb, the psychologist with the weekly show on NPR. I heard an interview with him recently in which he stated that research confirms that loading up on this awful imagery can bend the mind. Me, I was worried about nightmares. Dr. Gottlieb is more concerned with our attitude toward life and others. Too steady a diet of the horrific can back up in the brain and create all sorts of exaggerated fears, those neurotic fears we explored here not too long ago.

Thinking back on it, I can see the effects of this mind bending through diets of dire, dreadful, 24/7/365 news and entertainment doom ... and have for years. Over a decade ago (how can it be so long?), we had a lovable mutt, mostly German Shepherd, who felt it was her sworn duty to protect me from any and all other potential threats other dogs might pose to me ... no matter their size or apparent intent. For Ginger, the tiny Chihuahua in a purse was an equal potential threat to my life and limb as a rabid St. Bernard. So, we took an evening constitutional around 10 PM to avoid any potential confrontation (mind you Ginger was a huge fan of bluff and guile ... but a cream puff underneath ... still, no need to worry the neighbors). Walking those streets, we owned the night, no matter how nice the weather. It was Ginger, me, and an occasional teen getting away from the parents. Why? As we passed each home unobserved, a blue glow came from the windows, sometimes the only light on in a house. The nightly feeding from the TV fount was taking place ... no doubt some of it news, images, and entertainments most dire, raising fear levels where fear was unnecessary.* I truly believe more people weren't out because they were unsure of what might be out there waiting for them in the night ... thanks at least in part to the violent images swirling in their minds.

So, fill your heads with more positive images and information my friends. Sure, keep up with the news ... perhaps radio and newspaper rather than broadcast ... I don't want you to be uninformed. Find affirming books, films, shows and other entertainments to expand your minds. Give that subconscious something bright to work with. Who knows, you might find yourself bending toward a more positive outlook toward humanity and be more inclined to leave the house and discover how you too might make a positive impact in your community instead. Let the information you consume shape you toward goodness and light rather than fear of the dark.

*This is in no way intended to discount the very real danger some people face in crime torn neighborhoods, but such is not the case in mine ... and for this I am grateful.

For more on fear (the post mentioned above), see:

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