Anxiety results from Garbage in, garbage out…
How anxiety and the output of your life experience is created by the input of what you allow into your consciousness.
Have you ever wondered where your thoughts come from?
Have you ever wondered why you have anxiety or are scared of certain things?
Have you ever asked yourself why your life is the way it is?
Hopefully you answered yes to one of these questions, otherwise check your pulse, you might be dead…
I had dream the other night that left me with a feeling of anxiety when I awoke. It involved a dog that had taken on a somewhat human persona and it was being mean to me. Wait I take that back, it was being downright nasty. I don’t normally have bad dreams so it surprised me when I woke up with a sense of anxiety. I started thinking about how it might have originated and then it dawned on me. The show I had watched the night before was the input to my imagination. The show I am referring to was about Alaskan wilderness trappers trying to make a living. That particular episode had a segment about wolves eating the animals that had been trapped before the trappers could retrieve them. Mystery solved, this had been the source of my imagination for the dream and the resulting anxiety.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
The phrase “Garbage In, Garbage Out” or “GIGO” was a term that first showed up in 1957 during the early programming days of computers. It basically meant The quality of the output was determined by the quality of the input. To put another way if you put bad programming in, you are going to get bad programming out. There was also another term that showed up around the middle of the 1970’s called “WYSIWYG” and it meant “what you see is what you get.”
Those two terms are great analogies for what I call the ingredients of our consciousness and thinking. By ingredients I mean our thinking starts with using the five senses as inputs to the formation of our thoughts. As an example, do you remember when you were a child and had some of your first nightmares or fears? They originated from either stories our friends or siblings told us, or perhaps something we saw or watched on TV that scared us. It could have been something as innocent as a cartoon monster or more impactful such as a scary movie. Our thoughts originate with the input our minds are exposed to, or to put it another way, they originate from the cumulative collection of everything we’ve ever seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. The greatest effect on our thoughts and the resulting anxiety are the things we ourselves experience or most often, have “allowed” into our mind. So how do these inputs affect us?
Anxiety is the resulting effect of what we allow into our consciousness
Have you ever finished watching a movie or read a book and found yourself sad, full of tension, depressed or left with a sense of anxiety afterwards? Have you ever watched the news and ended up angry, fearful or disillusioned? Alternatively have you ever watched a show and afterwards were filled with happiness, a sense of well being or were inspired to be a better person? It should be no surprise these feelings originated with the input we allowed into our mind. This seems rather obvious but we give little consideration to what we allow into our brain. How often do we really stop to think about what we are about to “allow” into our brain and the effect it will have on how we feel? The progression of TV shows, news and movies has evolved to a point where the more gruesome, graphic and crude a show is, the more it attracts an audience. This unfortunately does not bode well for society and the effect it has on consciousness. We have in essence become slowly desensitized to violence, bad news, sensationalized catastrophes and human depravity that we hardly notice the effect it has on us. IT DOES HAVE AN EFFECT ON US! We don’t realize our lack of motivation, lethargy, anxiety, disillusionment or even depression results from these inputs. What other unconscious inputs affect us?
The constant barrage of news and media programming is enough to cause anxiety for anyone who watches it.
The other aspect to media is the programming that is drilled into us as a result of advertising. This again is something we don’t think about because we have become desensitized to it. There is subtle programming that is occurring in our brains whether we are conscious of it or not. This unconscious programming affects why we want a certain car, or why we buy certain products. Advertising affects how we view the world and consequently every buying decision we make. It makes us formulate opinions about what happiness is and what success is. It even effects our judgment about situations and our judgment of other people. This is another reason why I don’t have cable TV (aside from the fact that I spent most of my time scanning the endless channels deciding what to watch instead of actually watching anything.) By having on-demand programming I am in complete control of what I “allow” into my mind which eliminates any advertising.
Another form of programming occurs when we watch the news or talk shows. Perhaps this programming appears more obvious depending on which shows you watch. We are directly or indirectly being programmed on how to think about certain things and this affects how we feel and what opinions we formulate about the world. There is little to no objective reporting any more, instead there is programming that will validate whichever polarized position we take. As the news continues to be more lies and propaganda instead of news, we must be very careful of not being swept away into a polarized position. As we become more polarized in our opinions we also become more susceptible to anger, anxiety, divisiveness, contempt and disillusionment. It is safe to say there are no absolutes on the integrity of social or political positions. There are always two sides to every situation and being polarized to one side or the other will only create division and distress. So what does all this teach us?
Our brains are like a computer program, the operating system programmed from evolution is the ego and the software is programmed by society and experience. if we put garbage in we’re going to get garbage out. Now, I will admit that I have watched shows like “The Walking Dead” up until a few years ago. I found it to be a tolerable show in that it was mostly man against zombies, (a complete fantasy of a post apocalyptic world.) When one episode started to delve into the darkness of man against man I literally could not finish the episode. I found myself filled with so much anxiety and tension that it disturbed my natural state of peace and made it difficult to sleep. I found these episodes started to get more and more gruesome and graphic to a point at which I stopped watching the show altogether.
I have not watched the news for over ten years and avoid listening to the radio. I do not read the papers or seek out validation of polarized positions on any subject. For the last ten years I have been very careful about what I allow as inputs into my consciousness. This is especially true in the way of my thoughts. I have found bad thoughts bring bad things and good thoughts bring good things. All of this has made me much more sensitive to negativity, materialism, violence, vulgarity, sensationalism and polarizing views. My world consist of positive, nurturing, uplifting people, and uplifting inputs. Everyone has their own view of the world and in my case the world is a beautiful place full of loving people who care about each other.
One criticism to this strategy of not watching the news goes something like this, “how do you know what is going on in the world if you don’t watch the news?” It is true that I am the last one to know about some atrocity in the world. If it were not for other people telling me the latest horrific news or seeing the headlines splashed across the TV’s at the gym, I wouldn’t know. I really do prefer it that way. The question is, do we really need to know how many people have been killed or how many deranged people are in the world? Do we need to witness the corruption in our government or the divisive rhetoric that fills the airways? Do these things somehow enhance our life or make us better people for knowing this information? Let’s face it 99% of what gets reported as news just highlights all the bad in the world. Depending on what station you watch you are most likely only hearing one side of an issue. This again is how even the news has become a propaganda machine, interpreting for us the right and wrong of many issues.
It’s all a matter of focus
To think of this in another way it would be like asking someone if they would like to watch a two hour video of dead bodies, acts of violence and examples of cruelty, or would they rather watch two hours of beautiful nature scenes, acts of kindness or loving gestures performed for others. Both realities exist in the world and the one we choose to concentrate on will effect our mental state. Everyone formulates an opinion of the world and this opinion results in how we show up in the world. Subjecting ourselves to constant propaganda, negativity and violence has the effect of making us fearful and paranoid of our fellow human beings. It also programs us to become polarized in our positions. This only serves to separate people based on differences of opinion. Conversely if we only allow ourselves to witness the good in the world, we are more likely to be happy, positive, loving and compassionate to our fellow human beings. These are the attributes that unite people. We in essence start to resonate with certain attractor fields, which are either positive or negative in nature, (Click here for more on attractor fields in this post.)
Our life is created by our idea of what life is. Our idea of life comes from the inputs in our life. If we are fearful always protecting ourselves from potential harm, then we are likely to have a limited fearful life experience. If we believe that people are inherently good natured, loving and kind, then we are less likely to be fearful. This creates a positive view of the world and makes us more confident to pursue our aspirations and passion in life. It also gives us the confidence to engage other people with the spirit of cooperation. It might even have the effect of making you a more loving and compassionate person…
If we wish to minimize our anxiety and if we want the quality of our life to improve then we need to be aware of our inputs, “Garbage In Garbage Out.” I suppose the acronym GIGO could also stand for something else: “Good In, Good Out,” The choice is yours…
Applying the idea:
- Try to be more aware of how you feel after you have watched, listened or read something.
- Notice how you feel after you have been with someone.
- Do they inspire you with their loving and compassionate nature or do they make you feel drained by their fear, hate, anger, gossip, condemnation and negativity?
- Do they have the effect of uniting you with other people through love, tolerance and compassion? Or do they encourage hatred, anger, judgment and ridicule of others?
- Which one makes you feel good about yourself and the world?
- Do you feel Good? Disillusioned? Uplifted? Drained of energy? Sad? Inspired? Happy? Positive? Enthusiastic? Tense? Fearful? Negative, Anxiety, Motivated? Judgmental? Angry? Disgusted? More trusting? Cynical? Peaceful? Optimistic? Apprehensive? Annoyed? Depressed? Paranoid? Search your feelings to see if you can identify your emotions and locate the source.
- Once you have started to notice your feelings, try to become more conscious of how you would like to feel. This can be difficult at first because of being desensitized to the majority of media.
- If you decide you would like to feel more positive, loving, compassionate, uplifted, inspired, motivated, peaceful, happy, and optimistic, then try the following for 1 – 4 weeks or longer, (preferably a lifetime. : )
- Try to watch only those shows and movies that have a reputation of making you feel good. i.e. Movies such as:
- Forest Gump (1994)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- You’ve Got Mail (1998)
- Big Fish (2003)
- Finding Forester (2000)
- 50 First Dates (2004)
- Groundhogs Day (1993)
- Patch Adams (1998)
- The Bucket List (2007)
- The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)
- Big (1988)
- Don Juan DeMarco (1994)
- Pay It Forward (2000)
- Good Will Hunting (1997)
- Seven Pounds (2008)
- Try listening to inspirational music.
- Try meditating for 20-40 minutes a day.
- Instead of listening to the radio in your car, try listening to uplifting audiobooks or podcast.
- Sit down with a good book (i.e. books like Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Alchemist, The Celestine Prophesy, The Four Agreements, The Giving Tree, Tuesdays with Morri, Etc..)
- Stop watching the news and instead try watching some of the old tv shows from the 60’s-70’s (back when things were a little more wholesome.) This works well before you go to bed. (my favorite is Andy Griffith and Star Trek)
- Consider subscribing to an on demand media service such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.. (This allows full control of what you watch and eliminates any commercials.)
- Try to watch only those shows and movies that have a reputation of making you feel good. i.e. Movies such as:
We can’t control the content of media and what we are subjected to on a daily basis, however we can control which content to “allow” into our experience. Learn to be the guardian and gatekeeper of what you allow into your consciousness. If you stop allowing negative and degrading inputs into your mind and your life, you will start to experience a change in how you feel, how you think, and what you dream about.
Please share if you found this post to be meaningful and I would love to hear your comments, questions or thoughts… Thank you for reading : )
Below is one of my favorite videos and music that always has a tranquilizing effect on me and puts life into perspective.
Ok, well now I’ve “allowed” this song in my head, If you want to see some great classic lip syncing and dancing on soul train, then you have to watch the Dramatics doing Whatcha See is Whatcha Get (1972)