You don’t usually think of your daily movement as exercise, nor do you see your food as nutrition. That only happens if you’re conscious about losing/gaining weight, or if you have a medical reason. Otherwise you’re just moving when you’re moving and you’re eating when you’re eating. But let’s take a moment to look at that from another perspective.
If you are very conscious about your physicality then you will spend less time self-talking with your ego and instead you’ll be fully in your body. When I help a hockey player improve his or her mental game, I’m getting him or her to stop thinking so they can start being.
You don’t have to be deep in the playoffs to be in the zone, you can be in the zone when you’re vacuuming. Because that zone has nothing to do with the sport —it has to do with the state of mind of the participant. So yes, eat healthy and keep moving and in shape. But all of that means nothing if you’re not enjoying the life you’re trying to extend. Which is where the food analogy comes in.
Think of our thinking as eating. If we eat junk it might taste awesome, but we will pay for that if we continue to do it over time. There are no rights and wrongs, but there are definitely consequences. And we eat at home and we eat out. Home represents our thoughts. We have virtually total control over what gets cooked and how it gets eaten.
Away is outside ideas that we ‘eat’ with our ears or eyes or other senses. So watching our favourite TV show or reading a book or listening to the news, or having a conversation with a friend —all of these things are like dining out. And like food to a body, exposure to unhealthy thoughts will eventually construct an unhealthy psyche.
If we watch shows about crime all day long on TV, then we will definitely become more paranoid, suspicious, and frightened. If we watch COPS all the time we’ll view both the police and the black community differently than if you didn’t watch COPS.
This is why psychologists often get depressed. Their job is to sit and listen to people’s worst days all day long. How could that not suck? The number one thing they call me for is burnout. Which makes sense. Whatever we put into our consciousness will generate an immediate result. And over time that result will become a habit.
If our friends all bitch, we’ll start to bitch. If we stand around while people judge people, we’ll start to judge people more. If we watch the news every night we won’t be told the most useful things, or the most important. We’ll be told what will keep us in our seat until the next commercial, and that will overwhelmingly be things that frighten or anger us.
Note, the news will usually finish off with something to titillate or charm us. But that’s how the news gets chosen –by its ability to hold us until the commercial. It’s why the weather is always teasing what they’ll tell us without telling us.
Stories are understandably chosen to keep us seated using primarily fear and anger. They want us to keep watching so they justify keeping us scared or angry so we will. Most jobs require some justification for their downsides.
But over time, that constant input of fear and anger can pollute a mind. It gets us to believe in a world that doesn’t exist. The crime rate’s gone down in my city for something like 37 straight years, and yet I’ve never seen the place more worried about bad things happening.
Pay attention to what your mind consumes. Because if you’re not conscious about the effects, you’ll end up inadvertently reprogramming your mind in ways you may not enjoy. Think of every conversation and every piece of media as a plate of someone else’s reality, and every moment you continue to be around it you are spooning more and more of that reality into yourself.
You are what you eat. Eat thoughts and ideas that expand your spirit and you will help the whole world be healthy.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.