We tend to surround ourselves with opinions and ideas that reinforce our own. This happens particularly around politics and social issues, in our modern media age. Living in the echo chamber, they call it.
That insulated place can give us a false sense of reality.
But when creating new habits and neural pathways, an insulated place also can serve us well.
We can create an echo chamber of healthy living.
Why Create an Echo Chamber of Health
Wikipedia describes the metaphorical echo chamber as “a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition.” But, the definition continues, “(i)nside a figurative echo chamber, official sources often go unquestioned and different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.”
In other words, you surround yourself only with ideas and people who think and vote and react like you do.
But most things have at least two sides, and so an echo chamber also can be a source of good. When we try to create healthy habits, we need positive reinforcement. And we need a lot of it.
Think about your friends, relatives and other messengers, particularly on social media. What do they post? What messages do they send that leak into your brain? Who do you give access to your mind?
When you scroll through your Facebook feed, what’s there? Is it a recipe or three – and photos – of mouth-watering, calorie-laden cake, when you’re trying to reduce or give up sugar? Is it the latest Reese’s ad, or something else might lead you away from your goals? Eliminating these distractions from your daily intake of information could be a big help.
How to Create an Echo Chamber of Healthy Living
Take a close look at your social media feeds, your television shows, your magazines. Do they currently serve you and your goals for a healthier you? Here are some steps I took:
- I cancelled subscriptions to a couple of food magazines whose high-calorie, sugar-filled recipes no longer served my needs. When I changed my eating habits, I knew I never would make any of the luscious cakes and casseroles featured in those magazines and on their covers.
- On social media, I “unfollowed” people and companies who only posted photos and recipes of desserts and unhealthy food. Because Reese’s cups can be weaknesses of mine, I had to unfollow the Reese’s page on Facebook when I decided I wanted to reduce my sugar intake. Now, by not seeing those posts, I don’t think about what I may be missing by not eating one.
- I selected other people to “follow” whose vision, values, and ideas around health and wellness mirror those I have or want to have. This keeps my mind in the right places as I work toward my own goals.
What might work for you?
What could help you crowd out unhealthy distractions?
Whose voices do you want in your Healthy Echo Chamber?
Idea: Make these questions work for you by turning a blank notebook into a Healthy Lifestyle journal and record your responses and progress there.
I’m Amy, an integrative health coach, and this is Step 2 in the “31 Steps to a Healthier You” series, part of #Write31Days 2017. You can read other posts in the series here. If you’d like to stay in touch, I invite you to subscribe to receive my weekly updates delivered to your inbox.