Why you need to take an attention diet (and how to do it)

These days, it has been said, our attention is under siege. There are just so many directions in which it’s being pulled. 

Firstly, there’s a massive amount of stuff to pay attention to. And the more stuff there is to pay attention to, the more difficult it is to choose what to focus on and the more we get drawn in.

 Not only that, but it’s also easy to find your attention being pulled into consuming what I would call ‘mental junk food’. Whether it’s scrolling on your phone, surfing the web, flipping magazine pages or being buffeted by marketing messages, some stuff we consume mentally drains us rather than nourishing us.

So this week I’m introducing the concept of taking an attention diet and the big benefits you can gain by doing so.

Listen or read on to learn how to reduce your mental clutter and reclaim some more inner peace and vitality.

In the same way too much junk food can harm our bodies, the huge growth of junk information in the past decades can be really bad for our minds. 

 So, if you care to experiment with the idea of an attention diet, here’s how it can work. 

Here are the three parts of this diet.

1. Consume less information in general. By reducing our overall consumption of information we can open up more space for other really uplifting activities like a walk in the park, a dip in the ocean, a favourite hobby or a face-to-face catch up with a friend. 

2. We especially want to reduce our consumption of junk information.

3. Decide to deliberately find highly nutritious, uplifting, healthy sources of information and build your habits and life around them.


The attention diet works very similarly to a nutritional diet. By cutting out a lot of unhelpful consumption for a period of time, your body or mind adjusts, becomes healthier and stronger and, eventually, you no longer crave that fix of the junk because your whole system has recalibrated to how good it feels to stop consuming so much of it.

So, here are a few things that could be considered “junk information”…

  • Information that is sensational and emotionally charged
  • Stuff that really isn’t important, helpful or useful to you. This includes when you get stuck in addictive loops of scrolling or clicking when you’re not consciously choosing to do so
  • Stuff that drains you, or causes you to feel more stressed or anxious afterwards
  • Offline junk information might be gossip, unhelpful relationships or environments, or people who don’t treat you well

The nutritional information you could increase your intake of may be…

  • Reliable, well thought-out information
  • Information that supports your personal growth
  • Information that is relevant, useful or helpful for you
  • People who treat you well and where there is mutual trust and respect
  • Being within nature or in supportive community groups

If this sounds like it might benefit you, I invite you to have a little experiment with this this week. Choose a period of time to take the diet, say 3 days, 7 days or 30 days. 

And then decide what changes you want to make. You might change only one or two things, or you might be looking for a bigger shift. I’ll leave that for you to decide. Once you have decided on the parameters of your attention diet just go ahead, give it a go and then be attentive to the results of this new choice on your body, on your mind and in your life.

Wishing you well with this practice. Take care and stay strong.

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