By: LUMO Leaders
Hello mothers and others,
Ya know, I’m astonished sometimes at how much we think about the food that goes into our bodies. We read books and invest in fad diets that tell us how to eat. We count calories, keep food diaries, and hire people to help us feed our bodies in a healthy way. And for good reason! But it got me thinking – what if we paid closer attention to what we were feeding our brains?
In today’s world, we have an endless supply of information available to us at any given moment. We’re the tap of an app away from the news cycle, the latest celebrity drama, and scores of perspectives, both like and unlike our own. On any given day, social media has the potential to either entertain the heck out of us or leave us crying in a ball on the floor. If you are a regular human being, it’s a pretty wild wave to surf. If you’re a highly sensitive one, extreme measures must be taken to protect your brain and your energy.
I learned this the hard way during the pandemic. As 2020 progressed, with political and racial tensions across the country at an all-time high (at least in my lived experience), I sank into a depression. Everywhere I looked, people were suffering, grieving, and hurting one another. I began to question whether the world really was a beautiful place; whether people really were, at their core, inherently good.
Questioning these core beliefs caused a bit of a reckoning for me. I became disillusioned and pessimistic, which isn’t like me at all. I tried to harden myself to all of the heartbreaking news, but it didn’t work. And that’s when I realized what was happening.
For most of 2020, I, with the help of the news, had been feeding my brain a steady diet of fear-based thoughts. Fear that my family would get COVID, fear that politics would divide me from people I loved, fear that innocent people would be harmed because of how they looked, fear that children across the country weren’t getting enough to eat, fear that I wasn’t doing enough to help. These fearful thoughts were grounded in reality and helpful in many ways, moving me to take action about issues I cared deeply about. But they also dragged me down and left me sad and scared about the state of the world. I realized that if I was going to be there for my family, my clients and my team, I needed to take care of my heart. I needed a counterbalance for all of the fears.
So I made a concerted effort to pay attention to what I was feeding my brain.
In addition to the regular news, I started following news feeds that shared overwhelmingly positive stories (like Upworthy). I stayed in touch with close friends who speak kind words, and stayed away from toxic conversations that were sure to take me out. I read important books intended to educate me one day, and fiction the next.
Most importantly of all, I paid attention to my thoughts.
When I was being hard on myself I would play self-compassion meditations (like this one: 5 Minutes of Self-Compassion).
When I felt hopeless, I’d look for podcasts about joy (like this one: Tending Joy and Practicing Delight with Ross Gay).
Essentially, I realized that I’m happier when I make a concerted effort to see the world the way I want to see it. I want to believe that life is ultimately good. I want to believe in the human spirit. I want to believe that we are learning from our mistakes, that we’re getting better, that love is stronger than fear. I just have to make sure I’m feeding my brain plenty of evidence that all of that is true.
Now THAT is a diet I can get behind.
With a double helping of love,
Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.