I recently wrote about using a media filter to help become more aware of the messages you receive on a daily basis that may be harmful to you. We all know there are startling statistics that tell us about the amount of media ads and messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis. We also know a good portion of this is designed to make us feel bad about ourselves or to feel like we need something. Something a company will gladly sell us through their ad!
We also know that the messages we receive in the media can cause us harm. People can develop poor body image or feel like losing weight will change their life (among many other things we talk about regularly on this blog). A long time ago when I was in recovery from an eating disorder I was taught to create a media filter plan. The steps are pretty simple, but it is hard!
How to create a Media Filter:
1. Stop reading magazines, internet, etc. for a full day (either choose a day you aren’t working or if you are working do not go on any non-essential websites).
2. Re-introduce magazines, internet, etc. very gradually. Take a few minutes before choosing to go on site, open magazine, etc. to identify what you are going to look at. Once on the page be hyper aware of what you see. Note ads, words, pictures, etc. I recommend keeping a notebook nearby to jot down your thoughts. Pretend you are going to explain the content to a small child. Be very specific and notice every detail. Note how you feel when you take in different media messages (i.e. underwear ad makes you feel bad about your stomach, diet article makes you want to try new diet, skinny pic of model makes you want to look like her, etc.).
3. Go over your notes and decide what media filter is best for you and your well being. When I first did this I banned any and all articles on weight loss, diets, celebrity beach bodies, etc.. It was so tough to do, but I literally tore covers off of magazines if they had such articles inside. Be brutal and diligent. You are guarding yourself against negative feelings and that is okay.
As you learn and grow you will be able to handle these messages in a different light. I can now read a weight loss article and not feel inclined to try the diet, lose weight or change. But usually I am reading them so I can blog about it or laugh about how fake some of the advice is (remember the things we read and see are created as part of a business in most cases- so they can make things look pretty if they have to or want to).
Email me and let me know if you have any feedback or ideas of how to improve this process! Good luck!