THE POWER OF USING MEDIA CONSCIOUSLY
from real conscious living
Nancy Mramor Kajuth, Ph.D.
There are many challenges as a result of the Internet, the expansion of television, YouTube, apps and social media. Of course, this is both good and bad. It offers more opportunity for connection and education but also some potentially negative outcomes. Research is ongoing as changes are continual, with additional cable channels, changes in social media sites and social issues that support them. Here’s how it works and what to do about it.
1.All media is intentional. It’s important to understand the intention of any media viewing to see if it is aligned with your best intentions. If your intention is to have a healthy lifestyle, a cooking show that supports unhealthy eating would be a mismatch. Or if you want better sleep, too many crime shows may be a mismatch. If viewed too frequently, they tend to make you feel less safe. Decide whether you want to accept the message or not and whether it is good for you.
2. Ask, “Am I taking this information on the Internet or TV seriously or just information seeking?” Doom scrolling occurs when you are viewing continual news feeds in which you view some unfortunate news and keep scrolling to heal more and more about it from different channels or sites. It can result in Internet surfing, binge watching and social media. The longer you view the more you are likely to take in ideas unconsciously. Try viewing from a distance. Sit back, ask yourself what the message of the media is and decide whether it matches your intention.
3.To view from a distance, check your heart, your gut and your mind as you view. Notice whether the media is supporting you or having a negative effect on you. For example, when you notice that you are overly involved for too long a period of time with the Internet, crime or horror shows or a scary movie. Sit back and view with some distance. Enjoy what you view without becoming overly involved with the characters. In most cases they are fictional. Once you become overly involved you are likely to connect with the characters and become too interested in their outcomes.
When I was asked why people were so distressed at the end of the series Breaking Bad, I explained that viewers had developed parasocial relationships. The characters seem like family of friends because you have been seeing them in your home for an extended period of time. Becoming overly involved can actually cause sadness and in extreme cases, depression if you feel badly when something bad happens to a favorite character or when show gets cancelled.
4. Watch positive media. A six-week study showed that repeated “exposure to online videos that display acts of human kindness increased viewers positive emotions, It fostered the likelihood that they would pay the good feelings forward and benefit others.” Positive mood, leads to a positive future
The challenge and complexity of media prompted me to write the award-winning book, Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life, a book that explains exactly how to view each type of media, enjoying it without over involvement. Here are some ways to achieve the greatest benefit from the time you spend with screens.
TO VIEW CONSCIOUSLY
· Notice the effects of what you are watching on you
· Consider whether your reactions are good for you
· Observe how viewing creates changes in the body, mind and heart
· Notice whether non-supportive ideas come from media and consider letting go of what does not support you.
· View carefully noticing how you are feeling at each juncture of a post, show or webcast.
CONSCIOUS VIEWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
· BE ATTENTIVE to PSMU, Problematic Social Media Use, identified by the World Health Organization in a study of children in 43 countries, Economically disadvantaged adolescents, in particular were likely to use social media dependently reducing their feelings of well-being. The study estimated that over 210 million people world-wide addicted to social media globally and recommend early intervention in schools as a back-up to parental involvement.
· Your mood and level of self-esteem when you enter social media will either be enhanced or negatively impacted. If you have low self-esteem and don’t get a positive response to a post, you are likely to experience negative emotions. Feeling depressed and using social media to feel puts you at risk for feeling worse. “Do Facebook and Twitter help or hurt our happiness? It depends on how you use them. If the person has a certain inner strength, a certain confidence, then it is no problem. But if an individual’s mind is weak, then there is more confusion. You can’t blame technology. It depends on the user of the technology. “ The Dalai Lama, Time Magazine, March 2014
· The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) which drives teens to continually search their media causes sleeplessness, insecurity and distraction. A strong sense of self-esteem and parental involvement mediate these effects.