When I was in 5th grade, I conducted a groundbreaking science fair project. Actually, I'm pretty sure several other people also conducted the same experiment but looking back all these years later, the project actually taught me a lot about censoring to be happier, healthier, and all around more productive.

The science project(s).

My mother and I went out and bought three of the same type of plant and the experiment was to test growth rates of each plant with just one difference between each plant- the music it was subjected to. For an hour a day, plant number one listened to a classical radio station, number two listened to rap and number three was your average houseplant who didn't get any music to listen to. We tracked the growth every week for a three-week period and without a doubt, the plant that listened to classical music thrived and grew the most. (Sorry I don't recall the hard numbers of improvement, it was 5th grade after all.)

Danielle LaPorte recently conducted a similar audio experiment with her son using an apple. They cut a single apple in half and one side was the recipient of positive words and talk while the other was told how terrible it was and how it should just rot. The results of her experiment? A landslide win for the positivity apple rotting at a much slower rate. 

While both of these tests deal with auditory stimulation, other studies have found similar results with video and images. In fact, if we were to look at all five senses (hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste), we could find a variety of studies stating that positive touch, happy memory-jogging smells, and healthy eating improves our mood, performance, and general outlook on life. 

Where censoring comes in.

Whether over years of hearing about these studies or knowing inherently, most of us know that we should be absorbing more of what is good in our lives and censoring the negative as much as possible. Now I'm not saying we becoming ignorantly uninformed or only listen to classical music for the rest of our lives, but with the proper censoring, you can experience positivity in your simple everyday tasks, making a big impact on your life overall. Here are a few ideas of how to do just that: 

  • Stop following the people who make you feel jealous or negative on social media (Facebook and Instagram in particular).
    • You don't have to unfriend, just unfollow. 
  • Listen to a podcast instead of the morning radio show.
    • Morning shows are all celebrity gossip and news. Podcasts can contain happy, informative, and inspiring content to listen to. The best part? There are podcasts about EVERYTHING. Speaking of podcasts, keep an eye out for the Happiness Abound Podcast to release this fall. 
  • Tailor your news feeds to match your values.
    • Similar to unfollowing individuals who don't bring light into your life, do the same with your sources of media. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with friends, plants, motivation, and dogs. Why? Because I enjoy learning about those things and they help me enjoy my media consumption. 
  • Try a mellow, focus-music themed playlist during work.
    • You don't have to give up rap or heavy metal entirely but at work, try a softer playlist to encourage more productivity and focus. I've found I also leave work a lot happier on the days when I do this. 
  • Limit your TV watching, especially of shows that don't bring you joy.
    • Watching a great show but it doesn't necessarily help you feel any happier or informed after watching? Consider cutting out or limiting how often you watch.  I tend to think about the shows I watch long after viewing. Especially shows that I think carry unfair or "darker" themes. When I don't watch these shows, I am much happier and my mind is clear to think about things that help me grow in a positive way. 

Cultivating your happiness

These are just a few ideas and if you like reading about the current administration of the United States or it calms you to watch TV, by all means, keep it up. But I urge you to look at the inputs of your life and examine what could be censored to cultivate your happiness. What have you cut or do you recognize you'd be better off if you censored? Share your thoughts with me in the comments on Facebook and Instagram. I'd love to hear from you. 

Photo by Graham Holtshausen on Unsplash