If you’re still watching television or listening to the radio (meaning you have not turned it all off to avoid political ads) then take the time this week to tune into your reactions and responses to advertisements for food or weight loss products and services. Marketing for convenient fast food or delivery services before dinnertime, and for decadent candy or desserts in the evening, may all be craftily designed to influence you at your most vulnerable times, but you don’t have to fall prey.
Today, you can become your own media message.
Remember, your brain believes what it hears, so make sure you are the one talking. Start by just becoming more aware of marketing messages around you. Hours of research, millions of dollars, and many creative people are hard at work every day to find the most effective way to place, promote, and price their products for maximum effect. When they do their job well, you don’t even notice. Start noticing. Once we are aware of how we are being influenced and manipulated — even by ourselves — it is hard to allow it to continue happening.
Then, choose a different response. More research is showing the power of positive thinking, and you can see a pattern of it in the stories of successful people across the globe. It really is incredible how you can change your life just by being aware of the messages around you and choosing to respond differently. Here’s how you can be prepared with a different response when those messages try to weave their way into your mind.
Call It Out! If you ever see me talking to myself while driving around town, it’s likely I am having a dialogue with some negative force trying to break in. “Hey, media, I saw what you tried to do there! Not so fast!” As silly as it seems, hearing yourself say out loud that you noticed something helps you re-frame it in a more logical way. Try verbalizing when you notice a craving: “I am craving ice cream right now.” Hearing the actual words will make it easier to recognize the craving for what it is — a temporary moment in time — and not get caught up in its drama.
Make Better Choices More Convenient. Once you are aware of the influences around you, make things easy on yourself by putting better choices within arm’s reach. Keep healthy food ready and available at the front of your refrigerator. Change your commute so you don’t pass the drive-through that tempts you most. Learn from your patterns and anticipate your own needs. How would you help a friend or loved one be successful? Do that for yourself!
Turn Away From Negative Influences. Sometimes living in the positive means taking deliberate action against the negative. If magazines, television shows, or Internet media make you feel bad about yourself, stop connecting with them. Seek out people, places, and events that support your wellness goals. Life is too short to spend it being influenced by negative messages, and you deserve and can have better.
Your wellness goals are yours, but it takes more than just you alone to accomplish them. It also requires a positive environment and influences. This week, look around and notice the mixed messages in your life, and make sure your voice is the loudest!
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!