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Years ago I gave up a couple crime drama shows that made me too anxious and gave me nightmares. Even now, I avoid movies that seem even remotely related to horror. It just isn’t worth it. But sometimes it’s more than that. Sometimes shows affect my attitude. My husband says he hates when I watch HGTV or similar shows because it makes me unsatisfied and negative about our home

I’ve learned to watch what I put in my mind, mostly the hard way. When my daughter was young, I used to watch TV during the day while she napped and I knit. I enjoyed this time. But there was a particular show I was borrowing from the library that seemed to affect me badly. I still can’t really put my finger on what it was and first few seasons weren’t bad. But as I approached the last two or three seasons I found mysef irritable and anxious everyday that I watched it. So I stopped. This killed the J in me and I still haven’t seen the final season of this show. I just decided it wasn’t worth it.

There are two shows that I used to follow that I have recently stopped watching. The one show has really pushed the limits on my values. (As honestly many shows these days do) but it’s how they’ve done it that bothers me so much, and that it imparts some pretty terrible habits onto the lives of teenagers as though it’s normal. I know some part of me wants to know what will happen to these characters, but I really feel like I need to let it go. Another show is one that my husband and I used to watch together. It is well written, interesting and unique; a rarity. But it has a level of violence that is starting to get to me. So I think I’m going to take a break and maybe let go of it for good, just to see if I notice a difference.

It is so important that we watch what we put into our minds. Just as I try and be careful what goes into my body, so that I can provide myself with the best possible fuel for life, my mind requires the same kind of vigilance. I’m not going to tell you what YOU should be watching or reading (or not watching or reading as the case may be) but I do encourage you to evaluate your thoughts and moods in relation to the influences in your life.

When I made the decision to stop listening to talk radio (which I still enjoy at times) and instead opt for Christian music when I’m in the car with my kids, I noticed an almost immediate difference. My mood was better. My anxiety was lower and my kids and I enjoyed singing worship together in the car. (At least sometimes). My husband rarely listens to or reads the news anymore, except the bare minimum to stay informed. This is one of the ways he keeps his depression under control. You need to learn your triggers and then place a boundary of protection around yourself.  No, it isn’t the same for everyone, and I would never presume to tell you that what works for me would work for you. But it is still important that if we want to be clear thinking, thoughtful individuals and healthier parents we need to make sure we take care of our minds as well.

So if you want to share, I’d love to hear what influences you eliminated or perhaps added to your life to protect and renew your mind. (No moral or ethical judgments here, just searching for personal triggers.)


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