Posted on Mar 11th, 2006

I have a confession to make, I don’t watch TV as much as I used to.

Want to know why?

You see, years ago I was probably just like you, I need to get my daily fix from the goggle box.

What do you suppose the media is reporting over the news nowadays?

It’s all doom and gloom. The media of today, in their fight for ratings and viewrship, has sad to say, at many times resorted to sensationalizing news.

Whose fault is it?

It is partly our fault.

You see, people like to be entertained, and normal or boring news just don’t make the cut.

Our penchant for interesting news has set the media in its current direction of trying to outdo each other to bring to us the most sensational and interesting news angle they can come up with.

As the saying goes ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. Being fed with all the negative images and sound bites does have an effect on our thinking.

While I do think that it’s good to know what’s going on in the world around us, focusing too much into it can be destructive. What we focus on too much, does tend to become reality for us.

Up till now, you must be thinking, where does the ‘frog’ fit in?

Let me explain - the Chinese has this saying, when describing someone who is not in touch with what’s happening around them, and has shut themselves into their own world, they are known as being a ‘frog in a well’.

Although I’m not advocating that you turn yourself into this frog, what I do mean is that we can be like the frog to a certain extent. You could limit yourself to the media’s exposure, cut down on your TV time.

Another thing is, if you happen to see something that is likely to affect you, you must learn to let go, as described about in my previous article ‘Stress Management - the Modern Day Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde’ (see my site address at the end of this article and go to Articles).

Learn to be a mentally strong person and you would not be that easily influenced by the negativity that is perpetuated by the media, be it words, images or events.

Dwelling on negativity is a waste of time and energy.

Remember, you are the sole author of your life, and you must learn to be independent of the views and opinions of others.

How do you do that?

One way is to learn to listen to yourself by practicing meditation.

Meditation has the effect of calming your mind, and clearing your thoughts. With practice, you will be a much assured and calm person who is not easily shaken and influenced by all that is happening around you.

To start you off, I will show you a simple yet powerful meditation exercise that helps to keep your mind ’still’ and would be excellent for stress management.

Find a comfortable position, e.g sitting on a chair or lying on bed.

Shut out distractions (close your eyes, off the lights, or close the door if there are noises).

Start your Abdominal breathing.

Initially, you will find thoughts floating around in your mind.

Do not try to suppress them - just ‘observe’.

What you are observing is your mind chatter, or your inner voice.

Learn to ’step back’ and assume the position of an observer, do not participate in the thoughts.

To help keep your mind still, concentrate on the point where your inhale ends and before your exhale. This point of total silence is the ‘Gap’.

Focus your mind on the ‘Gap’ and soon, your mind chatter will die off.

Enjoy the peacefulness and silence for as long as you desire. This could be anything from 5 minutes to 30 minutes.

I find it best to do this meditation before bedtime, as it has the effect of calming the mind and helping you unwind after a day of hurried activities. You will find that you are able to sleep better after that.

That’s it, practice this simple exercise regularly and you will be able to still your mind at will.

I’ll talk to you soon.

James Tan has dedicated his life to exploring the human mind’s potential in stress management areas after suffering a fatal auto accident, which has been the turning point of his life.

His website contains various tips and advices, including a newsletter ‘Taming the Monkey mind’ and a free 28 part ecourse of stress managing tips.

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