Fighting the Media’s Attempt to Dysregulate Us
Part Three of Media Consumption and Body Dysregulation
One day I remember I was driving down the highway with a friend of mine and we were discussing what makes a billboard so effective at getting people to pull off the expressway and pull into the gas station to buy Hot Cheetos. We came to the conclusion, at the time, that a billboard is telling you that what they have you need RIGHT NOW. As we covered, in Part One and Two, this is the way that a billboard or TV ad dysregulates us into believing that we are in desperate need of something. “EXIT NOW”, “LAST GAS FOR 10 MILES” or the way that ads show people having such a great time because they are eating McDonalds are all examples of the way that ads and media try to throw us off and make us believe we needs something right now. But what are we to do about this? How do we stop ourselves from buying that Kit Kat Mcflurry we so desperately want after that commercial? How do we fight back against these attempts to dysregulate us?
Body Dysregulation is an ongoing issue today in our culture that if not addressed will continue to drive us towards behaviors that we are trying to avoid. So, then how do we fight this problem in order to avoid spending money on things we don’t need or really even want? Let’s look at a few ways to stop this cycle.
1. Mindfulness: Simply put Mindfulness is the intentional choice to focus on the here and now by using meditation and breathing techniques to allow thoughts to pass by rather than becoming fixated on one particular thought. So, how does this help us to fight the media dysregulating us? By allowing our body to be at its baseline on a regular bases (1) which means we are more capable of handling the onslaughts from media trying to throw us off baseline.
2. Focused Time Away From Media: Often we are spending a large amount of time in front of media, whether watching TV, playing on our phone, or driving down the highway, that is trying to pull our attention to it and force us to become dysregulated. Because of this one of the best ways to fight back is to is to spend some intentional time away from any form of media, my favorite way to do this is to go for a hike with no phone, in order to disconnect and allow your brain and body a chance to return back to baseline.
3. Understanding the Results of Advertisement: I think the first, and possibly best, way to fight against this attack on our nervous system is to know that the attack is happening. If we are able to become aware of the fact that media and advertising are working to throw us off of our regulation that we are prepared to slow down, and in time stop, the effects of dysregulating media in our lives.
Ending Media’s Hold on us
In order to prevent ads from leading us to unhealthy lifestyles, we must find ways to bring our body’s back to a regulated state. If we are able to find ways to become consistently rooted in a mindful and regulated state than we will be able to avoid being pulled all over by media and ads which will allow us to live a healthier and happier life. Remember that story at the beginning about pulling off the expressway because we have to get those Hot Cheetos? Imagine if we could find a way to avoid these knee jerk reactions to billboards how much less regret we would have in our purchase history.