Imagine if next time you took out the garbage, rather than carry it outside to the bin, you tore the bag open and emptied the smelly, disgusting contents all over your bedroom.
This sounds ridiculous, but it is exactly what most people do with their mind. They treat their mind like a trash bin, filling it with garbage day in day out.
In the same way that you take care of your body, you need to take care of your mind.
We know most “food” these days is no better than garbage. When you go to the supermarket, you see eight aisles of garbage and just one or two with real food.
I often used to go to Tim Hortons, a donut and coffee chain we have in Canada, because there was one in my university library. Standing in line waiting to order coffee, I would look through the glass window at the donuts and think to myself, “Garbage, this is literally garbage”.
If you are going to eat a donut, you may as well stick your hand in the trash bin, pull out a handful of whatever is in there and eat that instead. As far as your body is concerned, there is no difference.
I conditioned myself not to like donuts, and after a while this carried over to all junk food. I don’t eat sweets, I don’t enjoy them and I don’t get tempted because I know they are garbage – garbage that “tastes good” but that poisons you from the inside out.
Average people think I’m strange because of this attitude, but my life is far better for it. I’m healthier, leaner, more energetic, I’ll probably live longer, I have better digestion, and so on. The list of benefits is long.
I conditioned myself to dislike what is harmful for my body, and you can do the same thing for your mind.
After all, let’s be honest..
Television is garbage. Mainstream media is garbage. Most social media is garbage. Youtube is garbage. Internet forums and message boards, they are all full of garbage for your mind.
These things provide the “pleasure” of instant gratification for your mind, the same way a donut does for your mouth.
But despite garbage being palatable on the surface, “you are what you eat” holds true – physically AND mentally. A poor diet in either case will catch up with you eventually.
If you feed your mind garbage it becomes congested, messy and slow. Your mental space is limited and it is valuable – the more garbage you pile in the less space there is for anything useful.
If you feel like your mind is dirty and full of junk – meditate and practice mindfulness to clean it. And to cultivate a healthy mind, feed it clean information, just like you feed your body clean and healthy food.
There is an “ideal” information diet for your mind, just like there is an ideal diet for your body.
So stop a minute before you empty the next trash bin of Youtube, television, or social media into your mind. Feed it something clean instead… it will function better and you will see the benefits directly in your life.
How clean is your ‘information diet’? Is there anything in particular you include or avoid? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.