Mental "junk food"
Before now, I had never really taken much time to contemplate what I feed my brain. I have always been conscious (at times more than is healthy) of what I put into my body. I eat what I want, when I want, but naturally I have quite a healthy diet, simply because I enjoy cooking, I am interested by food, and I have been brought up to cook from scratch. Whilst I am aware of the food I put into my body, I have never really thought about the effect of what I feed my brain, or what I actually expose my brain to.
Through many conversations with an incredible woman I know, my attention was brought towards being more aware of the food I feed my brain. When I analyse it, I feed my brain a lot of “mental junk food”; a lot more than is healthy! When I refer to “mental junk food”, I mean what goes into my brain that scrambles it and makes it feel heavy and blurry. We all have those things we look at or watch that trigger a negative mood. Whether that be a sad, destructive, grumpy, or quiet mood, there are certain things that don’t make us feel great (like eating too much junk food!).
For me, one of these things is Instagram. As I mention a lot on my blog, I do believe that Instagram holds a positive, powerful place in society, and in many aspects it is a great tool to use. For example, promoting or advertising products, following what your friends are up to, and allowing you to see pictures of those you rarely get to see in the flesh, as well as documenting your own journey, but it can also have negative impacts. Largely, this includes the likes of trolling, but it can also do self-inflicted damage. This is what I struggle with most. At times, I find myself pointlessly scrolling through Instagram, barely even looking at the images I am liking. I love being able to see other people’s successes, but when I am stressed, it can have a damaging effect on my brain. Predominantly, it causes my brain to tell me that I am not good enough and forces me into a place of comparison. For me, this isn’t healthy.
I am a much more level-headed, confident individual when I don’t see everything that other people are up to. I go into races knowing I have done all I can do be the strongest and fittest version of myself. However, when I have too much access to seeing the training of others, it’s as if my brain goes into self-destruct mode, even though I have done all I can to be the best version of myself on that day. Other people can’t influence what I do, and what they do has nothing to do with how fit I am, so logically, making myself feel as though I am not good enough is completely illogical. It doesn’t actually make sense as it has no physical effect on me. This is something I keep telling myself.
Like anything in life, it is all about moderation and balance. Exposing myself to the training and lives of other people via Instagram is great every now and then, it gives you that boost to keep working hard to be able to push against your opponents, but when used too much, it can have the same effect as an overload of junk food; it can make you feel groggy, cloudy, heavy-headed and negative, like eating too much rubbish food. So next time you go to ‘stalk’ someone or endlessly scroll through Instagram, think, is it going to be good for your brain, or is it complete “junk food”?
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!