In the 1988 movie They Live directed by John Carpenter, the hero accidentally discovers a box full of sunglasses.
They’re not just ordinary sunglasses, however.
As soon as he puts them on, he’s able to see the world around him as it really is.
The sunglasses let him filter out the static to reveal the media messages being subliminally broadcast to the whole world.
Signs, billboards and books all carry hidden messages such as OBEY, SUBMIT, CONSUME and WATCH TV.
Most people aren’t aware of the messages because they can’t see beyond the superficial level.
But with the sunglasses on, the hero (and anyone else) can see the truth… and the alien race of skeleton-like robots that are enslaving the earth.
On one level, it’s just another of those 80s sci-fi alien B-movies.
On another level, though, it’s an allegory for the way the media can manipulate and even hypnotize you, influencing the way you think and behave, and often without you realizing it.
How The Media Can Hypnotize You
To find out how the media can hypnotize you, think about what hypnosis is for a moment.
In a nutshell, hypnosis is a process that helps you relax so that you can shut out the world and focus your thoughts and energies internally.
That’s how it’s possible to communicate with your unconscious mind and make powerful changes in your life.
And when you’re as relaxed as that, your mind’s probably in the alpha state.
That’s the same state you’re in when you’re watching TV or reading the newspaper.
You may have noticed that while you’re doing those two things, if someone speaks to you, you only half hear what they’re saying.
“Hmmm?” you mutter, forcing them to repeat themselves.
They’ve snapped you out of your alpha state (a state of relaxation) and into beta, where you have to concentrate.
The same thing happens when you’re watching a movie, engrossed in the action or drama, and then a commercial comes on.
Instead of being gripped by the advertisement, you get up and do something else.
You make yourself a drink or go to the bathroom.
The commercial “snaps” you back into a state of awareness and focus.
So while you might think the commercials are doing the hypnotizing, it’s actually the programs themselves.
And that’s why advertisers used to spend so much money on product placement in TV shows…
… because they knew that’s when people were more relaxed and more likely to absorb the information.
There’s no doubt about it: the media has the power to influence your thoughts and actions.
But what, if anything, can you do about it?
How To Avoid Hypnosis In The Media By Using Your Own Values As A Guidance System
Trying to avoid the negativity of the media, especially where fact-based programs like the news and documentaries are concerned, can be tricky.
The thing to remember is that you are an individual with your own values.
You have your own beliefs and your own ideas about what’s good and bad, right and wrong.
So when you watch a TV show, you need to use your own values as a gauge.
Think of the show as either affirming or contradicting your own values.
In fact, you’d probably be better off not watching shows that contradict your values, unless you’re consciously trying to understand the opposite point of view.
In that case you can decide whether you agree with it or not.
But if you watch those types of programs with a more casual approach, there’s always the danger that their ideas might unconsciously worm their way into your mind.
When that happens, it can lead you to develop inner conflicts.
That’s all very well, but you still want to be kept informed, right? Many people feel the need to know what’s going on around them, locally, nationally and internationally.
And the only way they can get this information is through the various forms of the media.
So, what can you do?
Here are some tips that will help you steer away from as much negative media influence as possible:
- Be vigilant and vet the programs you watch carefully
- Watch programs that line up with your own principles/values
- Look for positive news stories
Sounds easy enough? In theory, yes. But in reality, blocking out all the negative content can be impossible.
That’s especially true with TV news stories since you usually don’t know what’s coming until it’s on the screen. Or when scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed.
How To Handle Negativity That’s Regurgitated By Other People
Ever wondered why social media is such a worldwide phenomenon?
It’s because people are social animals.
They need other people to survive.
And while there’s absolutely no disputing that fact, what’s also true is that sometimes those other people can bring you down.
They’re pessimistic about the future.
They discourage you from pursuing your dreams.
They avoid doing new things that are the tiniest bit risky or dangerous.
Why do they think and behave in this way?
There are many reasons, but usually negative people display their negativity essentially out of fear.
They’re afraid that:
- They’re not getting the respect they deserve
- They’re not being loved
- They’re trying to control others
- They’re projecting their own regrets, judgments, insecurities and unhappiness onto you (this can be especially true if you want to try something they didn’t have the courage, but secretly wanted, to)
On top of that, they’re quick to blame their negative attitudes on external factors, such as bad luck or the actions of others, rather than looking towards themselves.
They can be demanding, judgmental, insecure, and pessimistic, and can often feel the need to control others and their environment.
It’s been said that the best way to avoid negativity from other people is to simply walk away from them.
But that’s not always practical. How can you walk away from your child? Or your spouse? Or your boss? Or your parent?
You can’t, so you have to find ways to deal with their negativity that work for you.
Here are some things you can try:
- Take note of whose opinions you value – if there is someone in your life who has a tendency to be negative and judgmental, choose not to take what they say onboard (unless you feel it’s valid). Just acknowledge that most of the time, this person is not a fit in terms of your values, so don’t allow yourself to get sucked into their negativity
- Listen to what they say and let them speak as long as they’re remaining respectful and are extending you the same courtesy, but if they try to control you and the conversation, take action by putting some boundaries in place when you communicate with them. This can take some time to enforce and learn, especially if you’re not used to being assertive in conversations, but it’s a skill worth learning, because you will come across many people in life who don’t respect your boundaries or who drain your energy
- Try not to let the other person get a reaction from you if you know that they’re just projecting or being negative for the sake of it. Again, if you tend not to value this person’s perspective and way of operating, why would you let their energy influence your own?
This last point is a particularly interesting one.
Sometimes, people like this just want someone else to agree with them. Especially if they’re feeling like everyone is against them or they’ve been hard-done-by, they want someone else – you – to take their side so they feel better about their own behavior or decisions.
But another reason they might do this is to get your attention. To make sure they do, they might try pushing your buttons by bringing up an incident that arouses guilt or some other negative emotion.
It’s not always easy to remain cool headed and detached in these situations, but if you can see their behavior for what it is (which is easier to do if it’s a regular thing), you can decide how you want to react. Pick your battles, carefully.
Using Solution-Based Thinking & Hypnosis To Keep Negativity At Bay
With solution-based thinking, the idea is to weigh up your problem and come up with a plan that will solve it.
It’s really a mindset more than anything else where you tell yourself something like this:
- There is a solution to my problem
- I have the ability and resources to come up with a solution
- I will devise a plan and make it work
You can see the benefits of this way of thinking. Instead of focusing on the problem, you’re focusing on solving the problem.
You’re looking towards the future when the problem no longer exists.
When looked at in this way, the problem is temporary. Because of your attitude, change is inevitable.
In other words, you will solve the problem and you will bring about a more positive outcome.
This concept also makes it easier to implement small changes one at a time, and every small change can contribute towards solving the larger problem.
The second bullet point above is especially telling, as it also works well in the guise of certain hypnosis techniques.
With hypnosis, it’s possible to get in touch with your unconscious mind and tap into your own inner resources.
Here are 3 hypnosis techniques that are perfect for doing that:
1. Dynamic Mental Imagery (DMI)
This is a sort of guided visualization that takes you on an inner journey to find symbols and insights from the unconscious mind that will help you get answers and solve problems. You might find it easier to achieve this through another hypnotist rather than via self-hypnosis.
This is a specific hypnotic language designed to bypass the conscious mind and access the unconscious mind. It interrupts your normal thought loops so that you can think on a deeper level, find new and different meanings for what’s going on in your life, and make significant changes.
This involves revivifying (bringing back to life) a memory and any associated emotions. Thinking back to a time of positivity, for example, can help you experience what those positive emotions felt like. It’s one way of battling any negativity, just by giving you a reminder of what positive energy feels like and what it can do for you.
Using techniques such as these, you can train your mind to look for the positive and avoid the negative in situations. You can search out the benefits rather than the drawbacks and focus on solutions rather than problems.
But since we’re talking about the media, there’s a constant output that you have no control over. So are there some steps you can take right now, or whenever you need to, that are quick and easy to implement?
There are. Here are some ideas you can put to the test.
Watch and read what matters to you – don’t just sit and watch TV news from beginning to end. If an item is of no interest, then change the channel. News providers want people to watch because that’s how they make their money. They’re more concerned with dollars than they are with giving you a rounded view of what’s going on. So try to be choosy.
Ask questions – don’t just take what you read or hear at face value. There are always at least two sides to every story. Ask yourself who wrote the story and why. Is it a professional journalist, or is it based on a random bit of gossip circulating online?
Learn how to switch off – this is where meditation or self-hypnosis can help. Take some “me-time” each day (say 15 minutes, for instance) where you can sit alone and get away from it all. Practice your chosen relaxation technique in peace and quiet, focusing on the positive things in your life. This will help keep you from getting overwhelmed by too much negativity.
Simple tips like this can help you train your mind to avoid or deal with negativity, not just in terms of the mainstream media but in other areas of your life too.
It’s not possible (or even advisable) to be positive all the time, but it’s good to know that there are effective techniques you can use to prevent too much negativity from dragging you down.