What Does Your Internet Diet Taste Like?

What Does Your Internet Diet Taste Like?

I’m not going to be so bold to claim that what you experience upon rising in the morning dictates the kind of day you will have (because we can often make decisions to improve things if the day begins poorly), but I don’t understand people who wake up and do this:

Ah…it’s such a gorgeous morning — the sun is coming up and the world is still quiet. I’m alone with my thoughts as I ease into the day. So much potential before me; I can think of no better way to begin the day than by jumping online and riling myself up!

Stress and Coffee

Instead of a quiet beginning to the day, a Web browser opens and suddenly the peace of the morning is shattered by this:

Oh, this story about the family that killed their baby and ate their dog ruined my morning — I’m sharing it on Facebook!

So-and-so [politician/government/group] did this [thing] and it’s made me mad. Grrrrrrrr!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr, I say!!!

Not naming names, but some people need to check their attitudes at the door…you know who you are! (The cryptic social media post.)

Did you see that pop star I claim doesn’t matter shaking her butt again? I’m so angry, I’m trembling!

You Are What You Eat

We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” It’s become an almost tired phrase, but…there’s truth to it: fill your body with unhealthy food and you’re much more likely to feel like crap than if you eat well.

Jumping online and seeking negative information all day long is like eating lard with a spoon three times a day and then wondering why you feel terrible.

There’s so much good food out there; why eat from a garbage heap?

How to Develop a Better Internet Diet

Everybody has to find what’s right for them, but if you believe it’s impossible to be online and not be swamped by negativity, you’re doing it wrong. Some suggestions:

Stay Away — Don’t go online for information the first hour or so of your day. Do something productive so that if the day goes south, you’ll at least have done something that makes you happy — even proud. Write in a journal, start a blog, or get a jump on the day’s tasks so that when your workday is done, you can relax.

RSS is Your Friend — Once a day, I check blogs. I go to Feedly after writing in the morning and everything there fuels my day. I see art and photography; writing news and positive essays (usually about making things). It’s easy to set up a feed that nourishes you — not drags you down.

Filters and Groups are Your Friends — The angry people on Facebook? You don’t have to see them anymore. Most social networks allow ways to hide angry and negative people. If things break through when a big news story hits or an election is in full swing, step away from it all for a month or two…or go directly to the pages of people you know are more positive.

Avoid News Sites — When’s the last time a news story directly affected your life? Maybe the weather report, but the sensational case about a parent maybe/maybe not murdering their kid? It’s fabricated misery, and it has no actual bearing on your life. So drop it. In an age of always-on news, it’s easy to watch and think the world is doomed. It isn’t.

Listen to a Podcast or Read — There are plenty of short podcasts out there, and we could all spend a lifetime reading full time and still have many good books left at the end. Why not learn something in minutes, or get lost in a good book?

Enjoy Silence — I spent the first 15 minutes of the day sitting in a chair while doing nothing. Not dozing back to sleep or even really thinking about anything: just sitting and enjoying the quiet. With so much rushing about, there’s something empowering about claiming time to just sit and do nothing.