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Published on January 11th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans

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How to Create Balance with a Media Fast

Most of us are accustomed to processing a tremendous amount of information everyday.  The fact that we’re used to this—and yes, even addicted to it—does not automatically qualify it as a beneficial part of our lives.

The daily onslaught of news, entertainment, e-mail, advertisements, and other media often prevents us from being able to process any of it at all.  And the time we spend absorbing this information cuts heavily into the time we could be spending on activities that nourish us rather than drain us . . .

Take a Break from Information Overload

Going on a media fast can help you to re-center yourself amidst a culture of information overload.

By setting media sources aside for a specific length of time, you stop the avalanche of information, giving your brain a much-needed break from a considerable source of stress.

David Lewis, who coined the phrase information fatigue syndrome, writes: ‘Information is supposed to speed the flow of commerce, but it often just clogs the pipes.”

The Fast

A certain degree of discomfort accompanies all forms of cleansing—undergoing a media fast is never easy.  If the thought of going “media-free” for a week sounds like an impossible feat, try it for one day.  During that day (you may want to start with a weekend):

  • Don’t read the newspaper, check your e-mail, or turn on the television or radio
  • Don’t read any blogs, Web sites, or magazines

The Focus

As the fast comes to a close, ask yourself:

  • What do you notice about your ability to focus on your own train of thought?
  • What things come to mind that are normally drowned out by the sea of information that consumes your day?

If fasting from all forms of media feels like too difficult of a first step, try cutting out one type of media at a time.  Instead of using up the time you would normally be watching television by surfing the internet, give yourself a project or goal to accomplish during your normal tv time.  You may get so much done that you’ll re-examine how much information one person really needs in a day!

Article Contributors: Julie Reid



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