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This Traffic Light System Shows You If Reading A Specific Article Ruins Or Makes Your Day

  • 4 min read

Life’s too short. Don’t waste your precious time.

We are mindful of what we put into our bodies.

We know how certain food makes us feel.

For instance, sugar can worsen anxiety.

But what about when it comes to our minds.

Do we know which reading activities actually nourish us and which send us into a tailspin of anxiety and despair?

Recently, I was talking with Tom Fenske, owner of THE SHORTFORM, via Zoom.

We discussed how reading different types of writers influences our day — in a positive or negative way.

We were talking about a specific Top Writer which we both like.

I asked Tom how reading the stories of this specific writer would make him feel.

I went first:

Frustrated, negative, stressed, angry, nervous…

Tom felt the same.

Don’t ask me to call this writer out.

Rather ask yourself how reading specific popular stories that are popping up in your feed makes you feel and you’ll figure it out yourself.

Sometimes it’s tricky to identify articles that ruin our day

As in the example above, I call these types of articles that make us feel frustrated, negative, stressed, angry, nervous…

🔴RED articles — I feel stressed.

Good news is bad news.

I know they sell on Medium but these rants, complaints, clickbaits, controversial, and negative pieces with no solutions and actionable takeaway make my eyes and soul just sad.

Apocalypse now. We’re doomed.

My soul is screaming and crying when it’s reading those lines.

Well, these empty-calories pieces probably aren’t doing us any favor.

🟡YELLOW articles — I feel alright.

They at least offer some kind of solution.

They illuminate different aspects of an issue. They make me think but not cry in the backseat of my car.

They give me some hope for a better future and to believe in mankind.

🟢GREEN articles — I feel (very) good and inspired.

This is what I’m thriving for. To be a writer of green articles.

Articles that inspire you.

That motivates my readers and influences them in a positive way.

Articles that smooth my reader’s wounded souls. That show them what’s possible.

I love reading inspirational pieces because they make me feel better.

🚦Instead of mindless reading on Medium do this:

  • Monitor what you read as you would your food diet.
  • Ask yourself how reading this article makes you feel.
  • Is it a RED, a YELLOW or a GREEN article.
  • Then experiment with eliminating or limiting the amount you engage in each one.
  • See what you learn from this detox.

Moreover, ask yourself what type of articles you want to create — red ones, yellow-ish ones, or motivational green ones.

People will never forget how you made them feel

Adelina Vasile inspired me with her piece: The Story That Made Me Unfollow Jessica Wildfire to share my so-called Traffic Light System with you.

In her story, Adelina explains that reading stories of Top Writer Jessica Wildfire makes her feel the RED light.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou, American poet

🟢The bottom line🟢

On Medium, reading should be an integral part of a healthy, well-balanced nutrition plan for your brain.

Think twice about consuming specific pieces of content.

  • Do you really want that an article leaves you with gazillions of questions, anxiety, and stress?
  • Or do you prefer something that lightens up your day and makes you feel better?

So next time when you read (or write) an article think about my Traffic Light System and do some detox.

Cultivate awareness around which reading activities nourish your brain — and which send you into a tailspin of anxiety and despair.

These empty-calories pieces probably aren’t doing you any favor.

© Kristina God


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