You Are What You Consume: How To Protect Yourself From Negative Influences

You Are What You Consume: How To Protect Yourself From Negative Influences

Here’s a question for you. What do you consume on a daily basis? We want to know what you give your attention to on an average day, from the news you read and the social media accounts you interact with, to the people you talk to and the books, shows, and podcasts you absorb. 

Because guess what? All of these things affect the way you think and behave and contribute to your overall energy. Negative influences have a sneaky habit of zapping our energy before we even realise it. 

Research shows that negativity actually distorts our thinking. When we encounter bad news, we overestimate its significance. It’s the very reason why, when a story dominates the headlines, we often fall down the rabbit hole of needing to know every single detail.

Over time, this can change our worldview. As humans, we have an in-built confirmation bias that means on a psychological level we will seek out information that confirms what we already believe.

So when you regularly expose yourself to negative news, toxic people, or draining social media accounts, you’re actually priming your mind to seek out more of the same. The more evidence you gather to support those things, the more likely you are to start believing that the world is a bad place to be.

But you can break the cycle. You can flip the switch and choose to see the good in the world. It all starts with being mindful of what you consume. Here’s how…

Limit your exposure to the news

These days, news is everywhere. We live in an era of 24-hour rolling news cycles. That means, protecting yourself is a little harder than switching the TV off come 6pm. But it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. Maybe you need to mute certain words on Twitter, uninstall news apps on your phone, or be firm with loved ones when they bring up the latest story that’s hit the headlines.

A healthy dose of perspective can go a long way too. A news bulletin is – for the most part at least – a collection of the absolute worst things that have happened across the world in a single day. It doesn’t include all the joyful news that has also filled the past 24 hours.

Somewhere someone in the world is saying I love you for the first time, someone is smashing a major goal, and someone else is welcoming their first child into the world. In a single moment, there are thousands of happy moments taking place around the globe. Despite how you might feel when consuming the latest headlines, there is always, always joy to be found.

When the news cycle feels heavy or another glum story fills our social media feeds, close the apps if you need to, turn off the TV and do your best to keep that in mind.

Consciously consume social media

Opening a social media app you never know what you’re going to get. You could be greeted with posts that make you feel uplifted, happy, and inspired or sad, unmotivated, and stuck. 

Our advice? Find happy spaces online. It could be The Head Plan Community (where we share daily motivation, affirmations, and more), meme pages that make you laugh out loud, or accounts that exclusively share pics of puppies. You could even seek out a community of like-minded people who uplift and inspire you.

While you’re at it, mindfully review the content that drains you. Maybe you follow a particular news outlet that gets you down or regularly see toxic updates from someone you know. Remember this: the mute and unfollow buttons are there for a reason. Protect your energy and use them. You owe it to yourself.

Bubble wrap yourself

You know that saying ‘you are the grand sum of the five people you spend the most time with?’. It’s not just a hollow sentiment. The people around us literally impact the way we think, feel and behave. Thanks to mirror neurons in our brain, we’re primed to ‘mirror’ the behaviours of the people we observe. That’s why, if a colleague is in a bad mood, you might find you start feeling cranky too.

But guess what? You don’t have to take on other people’s energies. You could excuse yourself from a toxic situation, take breaks if someone is getting you down, or even try the bubble wrap method. To do it, simply visualise yourself wrapped in protective bubble wrap, and imagine their hurtful, unkind, or downright toxic comments bouncing off your protective layer.

You can also actively try to redirect the conversation. Try using phrases like ‘How are things with you? Tell me some good news!’ or What’s been the highlight of your week so far?’.

Conventional wisdom says that you should cut negative people out of your life, but not only is that not always possible, in some circumstances, it could be considered unkind. Instead, you can choose to be a positive influence in their life.

The old adage is true: You never know what someone else is going through, so if their begrudgery, skepticism, or downright negative attitude leaves you cold, be the person who brings some love, light and joy to the conversation.  

Shift your energy

At any given moment, you can choose to redirect your focus. If social media, the news, or even the people around you are draining your precious reserves, you can make a conscious decision to change gears.

Not sure where to start? Get up and move your body (a few star jumps will show that foul mood who’s boss) crank up your favourite tune, recite some uplifting affirmations, or flick through some of your favourite photos. 

It’s as simple as this: if you don’t like what you are consuming you can switch off or choose to consume something better. 

Reconsider what you consume…

Can you imagine putting petrol in a diesel engine and expecting your car to get you from A to B? Feeding your body and soul with negativity is just like that: you can’t feed it bad energy and expect good results. 

Getting to where you want to be and enjoying the journey along the way is all about developing the right mindset. That’s why we’re calling on you right now to reassess your habits. Have a think about what you’ve been consuming and the part it plays in the energy you’re able to bring to the world. 

Here’s our motto: if in doubt, cut it out. That’s right. Eliminate those toxic habits, even just for a week and see how you feel.

According to an unattributed proverb, “your diet is not only what you eat. It’s what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, and the people you hang around with.” When you mindfully consume the world around you, there’s no telling what you can achieve. 

December 15, 2021
‘Tis The Season To Be Stressed Out? How To Avoid Christmas Burnout

‘Tis The Season To Be Stressed Out? How To Avoid Christmas Burnout

There is something magical about the year-end. It comes with a feeling of accomplishment and completion. It’s an opportunity to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come while making concrete plans for life’s next exciting chapter.

But Christmas is also a time when everything ramps up. Deadlines multiply and are pushed forward, coffee catch-ups and nights out with friends fill the calendar, and there’s an overwhelming pressure to get everything done by December 25th.

If the Christmas countdown often leaves you feeling overwhelmed, overstretched and running on empty, you’re certainly not alone. Statistics show that the season can be a source of great stress for many people – particularly women – and increasing workloads, financial constraints, and the pressure to have the perfect Christmas are just some of the common stressors.

But help is at hand, whether you’re crumbling under the pressure at work or can’t cope with another social engagement, we are here to guide you on how to get through the festive season by avoiding the Christmas burnout. 

How To Avoid Christmas Burnout

Write everything down

And we mean everything… that hair appointment you’ve squeezed in, the last-minute shopping trip, that looming deadline.

Planning in this way is scientifically proven to reduce stress. It’s a process known as ‘proactive coping’. When we schedule events that we perceive as being potentially stressful, it can actually trigger feelings of anticipation instead of overwhelm.

And guess what happens next? The anticipation of the event, be it a work meeting or a big deadline, can spark increased productivity and performance that can make it more likely you’ll achieve your goals – and all you did was write it down and make it happen.

Open The Head Plan Agenda and focus on the Agenda Daily Pack to organise your day and plan out all of your upcoming deadlines, appointments and occasions.

Control the Controllables

When you’re burned out and overwhelmed it can feel like so much is outside of your control. It’s as if you’re one wrong move away from smashing one of those spinning plates.

The secret to staying cool, calm, and collected this December? Looking after the basics: that means getting plenty of sleep, nourishing yourself with food and water, and making sure to move your body.

This may feel like another bullet point on the never-ending to-do list? But these 'prep steps' will make all those other daily tasks and actions easier to do.

For example; water is scientifically proven to improve focus, alertness, and concentration while boosting your mood and cognitive function. Meanwhile, nourishing your body with nutrient-rich foods is shown to impact the brain at a psychological level, prompting positive changes in the way we think and behave.

Want to stay on top of your food and water goals? Our Daily Drench water bottle and Nourish Meal Planner will set you up for success. Fill your 1 litre bottle and remember to sip at it at regular intervals throughout the day (we have motivational reminders on the bottle if you need it) and pack your day with nutritious meals that power you to perform at your best. 

Put rituals in place

“We do not rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems.” That’s a quote from Atomic Habits author James Clear and he’s making an important point about how the habits and rituals we put in place determine whether we succeed or fail.

Daily rituals are the activities that allow you to bring your best self to each and every day. It could be writing in your Gratitude Journal, starting the morning with meditation, or repeating affirmations. You get to decide what activities allow you to perform at your best – and it’s up to you to make the time for them on a daily basis this December.

When you prioritise your wellbeing in this way, it can sharpen your mindset, protect your energy, and give you a healthy dose of perspective that ensures you can deal with stress in a more positive way. 

Learn to say No

No. The word has just two letters, but it’s loaded with negative connotations and saying it often comes with a side order of guilt, shame and embarrassment. After all, none of us likes to feel like we’re letting others down. But here’s the thing: when we say yes when we really want to say no, what we’re really saying is ‘my time and energy don’t matter’.

But your time and energy do matter and if you don’t prioritise them nobody else will. That’s why it’s time to get comfortable with saying the word no. You’ll institutively know when you don’t want to do something. You’ll feel the sensations in your body. Tune in to that feeling – and remember that when you get another Christmas party invite or need to pick up another task at work, you don’t have to respond immediately.

If ‘no’ gives you a serious case of the ‘fear’ try practising on your friends and family first. You might feel more comfortable adding an explanation too. If that’s the case, try phrases like:

  • “I’m so sorry, I don’t feel comfortable in large groups of people right now.”
  • “That sounds lovely, but I have a lot on my plate at the moment and want to preserve my energy.”
  • “I’d love to help, but I’m feeling very overstretched right now.”
  • “I won’t be able to make it, I need some time to rest and recuperate.”

Be Gentle With Yourself

Sometimes anticipating burnout and overwhelm can be the result of not having faith in yourself; you may look at your list of to-dos and wrongly believe there’s no way you could get it all done.

If this is the case, we want you to remember that you’re more than capable and to keep Karen Salmansohn’s words in mind. She says, “You have dealt with so much and done the best that you can, take a moment now to appreciate how strong you are.”

While we’re on the topic, there’s no shame in relieving yourself of some commitments. You can’t – and shouldn’t attempt – to do it all. In fact, sometimes being unproductive is the most productive thing you can do, so when the Christmas lead up feels hectic, give yourself permission to rest.

‘Tis the season to be your best self…

Every Christmas people around the world put up a tree in their homes. They take great care putting pretty ornaments on the tree, untangling twinkling lights, and placing a shiny gold star on the top of the tree. But as life ramps up on December 1st, do you take such good care of yourself?

Just like that Christmas tree, our schedules in the lead up to Christmas inevitably come with a few extra embellishments and they can be a source of stress instead of celebration. But remember this, you’ve made it through a full year of ups and downs, navigated nearly 12 months of trials and tribulations and come out the other end the better for it.

There are just a few extra weeks standing between you and the year’s end and just like you’ve survived everything the previous 11 months have had to offer, you’ll make it through this moment too.

December 01, 2021
Tags: burnout stress