One of my goals during the pandemic is to come out of it stronger than when it started. This has forced me to take an honest look at my life, my goals, and what makes me happy. I’ve asked myself how close or far I am from doing the things that bring me joy. And that’s when I realized that I was doing things that made me miserable.
When I Realize I’d Been Programmed
For example, I used to look at the news or social media before work. When I was growing up, we consumed the news multiple times per day. There were newspapers on our doorstep in the morning and evening, and the news was on TV in the morning, afternoon, early evening, and before bed. Media companies have programmed millions of people to look at the news. And when I looked at the TV guide recently, I was surprised to see that it’s still the same – news in the morning, early and late evening.
Without realizing it, I had continued this pattern as an adult. Through social media, I was consuming news multiple times per day. And when I took a break from social media, I felt guilty for not being informed about what was happening in the world. I felt guilty and ashamed if I didn’t read or listen to the news. But I still believe that being ignorant is not a good look.
When I reflected on what made me happy, I asked myself some honest questions.
- Why would anyone want to hear about “bad” things happening before they go to work, or before they go to bed?
- Is there anything in the news that I need to know?
- What types of news wouldn’t put me in a bad mood or would inspire me?
- What types of news wouldn’t put me in a bad mood or would inspire me instead?
The more I thought about it, the more toxic my habits were to me. I realized that I haven’t made a video in months because every time I come up with an idea and sit down at my computer, I see the news and my mood changes. As a result, I don’t complete the video.
Making Better Choices
The first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is one. In my case, I needed to consume less news. That meant going through my RSS feeds and adjusting when I read them. Gaming and tech news doesn’t bother me, so I kept those. I also found a YouTube channel that summarizes the news in a brief, accurate, and non-opinionated format. I stopped reading comments on social media because reading other people’s opinions was sometimes more triggering than the news itself. At night, I listen to things that bring me joy, like positive affirmations, music, gaming lore videos, or educational videos. Lately, I’ve been watching bonsai videos before bed. The key is to find a playlist that you enjoy and stick to it. That way, you can go to bed and wake up to something you love.
I’ve noticed that stepping back from the news has helped me regain my creativity. My mental health has improved, and I’m not as angry and frustrated over things I can’t control. I’ve even stopped cursing as much as I used to. One positive change has led to more positive changes.
There are a lot of people who aren’t happy, but they’re not doing anything to change their situation. They continue to do things the way they’ve always done them, even if it makes them unhappy.
Looking back at the years I spent being sad, frustrated, and angry about world events instead of doing things that brought me joy has been a valuable learning experience. I realized that I could make more videos, work on my family tree, change careers, talk to my friends more, learn new things – the options are endless.
My goal is to remove the programming that was instilled in me growing up and replace it with things that bring me joy. I’m determined to take control of my own happiness and steer my life in the direction I want it to go.