Daily life can be full of trauma. Especially living in the crazy city of Denver at the moment I see people committing micro-aggressions on a consistent basis, through rudeness, crudeness, unkind words, and even physical aggression. A few months ago someone downtown was chasing people around hitting them with a PVC pipe…yeah. People be crazy.
There are times when we just can’t handle any more darkness at the end of the day. Noticing this is an act of self care. Yes, we need to be active members of society and stand up when bad things are happening instead of ignoring it…Like when a man on the bus a few weeks ago kept on shouting the N word and I told him it was not OK to say. He ignored me and kept shouting it. But at least I said something. Complicity is its own monster.
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I have created a “No Dark Diet” in order to make more room for joy and laughter, and to limit the amount of stress and darkness that comes into my psyche. Even small events or activities cause stress to build up and become stored in the body as tension, discomfort, anxiety, and general dis-ease. Some “darkness” is of course necessary because there is no light without darkness, but most stress is unnecessary and it’s best to avoid it when possible.
This is the No Dark Diet:
- No dark movies or shows. Often these disturb me or make me feel anxious while I am watching and after I have finished watching. Instead I make room for laughter and joy by watching comedies and feel great while I’m watching.
- Not hanging around dark people. Shutting down negativity in conversation. Instead, talking about feelings, goals, improvements, solutions, celebrations.
- Listening to uplifting music, because it makes me happy and makes me want to dance. Dancing always shifts my mood.
- Reading uplifting books, because the media I consume creates and inspires the ideas and thoughts that go through my mind.
- Tempering consumption of media- only reading news that is accurate, not sensationalized. Because I don’t care to hear about The Donald talking about his penis on the Republican debate. I know he’s ridiculous. I don’t need to know more about his ridiculousness. I’d rather debrief from a trusted source (e.g. NPR) than endure stupidity first-hand or listen to pundits argue about it.
- Weeding out social media friends who are inflammatory or who trigger or annoy you. Because social media is supposed to be fun and inspiring!
- Fixing things that annoy you (for example, changing a dead lightbulb, or getting a new bag when your zipper breaks). Every annoyance creates stress piled on stress. Instead, having things run smoothly cuts down on unnecessary stress and makes life easier. Also, automating annoying tasks (like paying bills automagically instead of having to remember the due date every month) is a miracle!
All of these tactics improve my outlook. The parts of our psyche that we feed grow. I want to feed myself loving and inspiring media and ideas. What’s part of your No Dark Diet?