Filtering Your Inputs

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to recall and reflect on negative experiences more than positive ones? That at times you can't remember what you had for breakfast but can recall a painful memory in minute detail?

It seems that, as humans, we are naturally biased towards bad inputs, allowing things that are tragic and stress-inducing to stick more easily. One popular theory is that this once served an evolutionary purpose of self-preservation. It’s also suggested that negative experiences are carved deeper into our psyche than positive ones.

With our brains processing up to 200 million billion pieces of information per second, being aware and filtering your Inputs is really vital to mood and mental health. Think about it: negative inputs bombard us from many angles such as social media, advertising and TV shows. Though it is useful and necessary to stay informed on the world around us, are we harming our health?

Psychologists suggest that this might be the case, as over-exposing ourselves to negativity leads to effects such as increased pessimism, desensitisation to violent imagery, stress, anxiety, and hyper-awareness. And worse still, it can lead us to ignore the good and happy things in life.

Here are some tips to filtering your inputs and replacing the daily dose of bad news with your morning coffee.

  • Cultivate an awareness around the inputs you see, watch, and listen to. Ask yourself, how does this make me feel?

  • Evaluate the situation. Is it necessary and useful? Is it positively or negatively influencing my mood?

  • Decide whether to continue engaging or remove the input. If it doesn’t serve a purpose and makes you feel uncomfortable, then divert your attention to something better. For example, listen to an inspiring podcast, watch some stand-up comedy, or read an interesting book.

  • Break the cycle and remove alerts to the news from your phone or un-follow sites on social media.

It is easy to become a reflection of what we immerse ourselves in. Luckily, you have the ability to decide what you feed your brain. Your choices could impact the quality of your life.