Do you find yourself having the same old conversations with family or friends and feel drained as a result? Do you sit through violent films with your partner and end up feeling anxious? Do you doom scroll and feel lacklustre afterwards? Well, perhaps it would be helpful to think about your content boundaries.
To have meaningful relationships it is important to listen to others. However, there are some situations where the conversations may become draining and even toxic.
For instance, one of your parents might complain to you about your other parent. This may lead to you trying to rescue (see my blog on relationship boundaries where I talk about the drama triangle) which rarely ends well. Even if it doesn’t result in this, this content is not healthy for you to listen to and it isn’t appropriate that you are put in the middle. Believe it or not, you are justified in telling this parent (or whoever it is) that you do not wish to hear this content any more. There are many situations like this that can arise so have a think about any conversations you have regularly that drain you.
Media content including social media, films, TV, news, books and magazines can hugely affect our mood and our wellbeing. Sometimes this is down to decisions we make (eg. the amount of time we spend on our phone) and sometimes it is media that has become the norm in environments we work or live in.
It is well known that the time we spend on our phone can impact our mood. However, how honest many of us are about how much time we spend scrolling and what impact it has is another matter. If you find yourself coming to, dazed, after spending another hour on Twitter perhaps it is worth defining what you want to get out of social media and making some tweaks (such as getting an app to help you limit your time on certain sites or limiting news intake to 30 minutes a day).
There is also content that comes attached to different areas of life. For instance, if your partner has a penchant for violent films or console games you will be exposed to this. You may wish to say, if certain content depresses or upsets you, that you don’t wish to watch it with them anymore or could they please wear headphones when playing a certain game.
Sometimes it is more difficult to get a handle on what upsets us and to do anything about it. We may wish not to associate with politics and gossiping at work, for example, This may be possible in some instances but work politics can often be difficult to avoid. We may decide, if we have the belly for it and if the job means a lot to us, that we want to try and do something about the negative culture. Alternatively we may want to vote with our feet and look for another job with a more positive environment.
Similarly, in your work or personal life you might realise that a group you are involved with omits negativity. Again, you may wish to vote with your feet. It is a difficult thing to do but I’ll bet that in a few weeks time you will thank your past self for leaving.
It is important to be self-aware why you are cutting out content. It might be because:
- it isn’t something you like or are interested in
- it saps energy or robs joy
- it isn’t in line with your values
On the other hand, you may avoid something because you are triggered. For instance, if you find yourself avoiding any TV programme with a happy couple since your break up, perhaps there is some exploration you could do that would be beneficial (journalling or counselling for instance). Being triggered is a signal that there is pain that needs to be processed and if this is the case your goddess within deserves the attention.