• The Data You Feed Your System Matters

    The Data You Feed Your System Matters

    by Jason Temple, LMFT

    Have you ever heard that the fuel you put into your system impacts the system? Meaning, if you eat junk food, your system will be impacted by it?

    Well, the same thing applies to your mind and the emotional and physiological system impacts.

    The great part about our brain is that we can sit in front of a screen (television, computer, phone, etc.) or in front of someone telling a story and the data that our brain gathers can make us feel “all sorts of alive.” The reason for this is that our brain is sorting through the data of what we are looking at and engaging bodily systems to respond with emotional energy. We may not have felt that emotional energy since elementary school and it sure felt good to feel in the doldrums of daily living as a routinized adult. The problem is that all the data that we are feeding our brain DOES IMPACT THE SYSTEM. It’s not just a momentary sensation either. Some data causes long lasting impacts on the system which can include sensations such as: we are under threat, we are completely safe, we are alone, or we are thriving.

    Any thoughts on how this might be a problem?

    The primary issue is that we are feeding the system all these things at once which creates chaos in the system of our mind and body. We may be having tense muscles through our shoulder blades due to the news broadcast that was highlighted and edited to instill that very sense in your body. We may notice a sense of panic or excitement as we watch Netflix documentaries about serial killers and how they were caught. We may also be feeling a deep sense of joy and satisfaction in life as we sit with the new addition to our family on our lap making cooing sounds and silly faces. But… why does the baby sense a feeling of threat or panic while looking at its new family member? Probably because you’re feeling it through and through, even if it’s mild or “behind the scenes.”

    I was having a conversation with a friend recently who was in a complete panic because of rising gas prices in California. She shared that her finances are impacted by filling her tank and this was causing her such distress and distracted in her pedicure that she almost forgot to enjoy it.

    Let that sink in as I’m not even going to comment on the situation. I am going to comment that the fearful message that she heard about the cost of gas prices made her think that her welfare was being threatened. Was it?

    A simple fix to this dilemma is to monitor what you are putting into your system. What data is someone putting out there to for you to “ingest” and why? Ratings? A good movie or tv star rating on IMDB?

    Snake oil salesmen were successful in the 1800’s because they sold the data of “you are threatened” and had their cure on hand for you to immediately purchase. We continue to fall into the pattern of receiving data and then purchasing or following or “staying tuned” for the cure. The issue is that we are feeling the response to the data and then following it down the rabbit hole.

    We have enough in our day-to-day life to manage in our systems. Please monitor how much data you are letting into your mind as it does impact the system. Some people hear this lesson and stop social media, switch the news outlet they’re watching, or limit the amount of “Snapped” they’re watching on Hulu. I think those are all good steps, but finding benefit from this idea doesn’t require the full amount of change those other clients have made. If you could take one thing from this article, it’s just to pay attention to the junk data you are taking in. When you find yourself saying “I can’t live in a world where (fill in the blank) happens,” ask yourself, “Is that actually happening in my world or am I just processing the data about it?”