Nope, not talking about food here. Today, we’re talking about your media consumption.
Many of my students tell me that one of the most impactful assignments of their collegiate career is the media fast they do for Body Image class, but it is not just the actual fast– where they go days without media- that teaches them something. For three days before the fast, I ask them to note every single minute of media consumption from social media time to listening to music, from reading magazines to watching television and to record why they are engaged in that media and what they get out of it. In their papers, they then explore why they make the media choices that they do and how those choices make them feel. It is often in that close examination that they realize that they chose media that makes them feel badly or as a false way to make them feel better (i.e.: they watch something like Bad Girls Club and think, “at least, I don’t act that way” but still internalize the beauty and body messages that are being shot at them). Many of them are struck by how much media they take in (one student discovered that she was plugged into media for 36 of 72 hours– and another 20 hours were dedicated to sleep!) their choices around media actually set them up and want to start making choices that are healthier for their overall sense of wellbeing. In the final part of their paper, they talk about what will change moving forward and it is not just the amount of media they want to change, they also want to change the specifics about their media– giving up things like specific television shows, songs that reinforce negative messages, and even social media habits.
This week, I want to encourage you to track your own media consumption by using this Consumption Chart and then make any changes that will help you feel more empowered, productive, and happy.
What do you think your consumption chart will reveal? What do you want more or less of in your life? How can you be cognizant of your media help you get more of what you want?