Input/Output and mental health

There’s a term in the world of technology called input/output. It’s often shortened to I/O, and many of the startup tech companies with big visions and dreams of a billion-dollar stock-market flotation have websites that end not in routine .com or .net but in the much cooler .io domain.

From Wikipedia’s explainer on Input/Output:

In computing, input/output or I/O (or, informally, io or IO) is the communication between an information processing system, such as a computer, and the outside world, possibly a human or another information processing system. Inputs are the signals or data received by the system (for example, a computer) and outputs are the signals or data sent from it.

Taking technology and computing out of it, it’s fair to say Input / Output is a valid concept in the human body.

This is obvious when it comes to diet. Eat crap food, feel crap. Eat highly nutritious food, feel better!

But how about information?

We are subjected to relentless information, almost every second of every day.

We do have a choice over some of this.

Over the past two years, some of the inputs that I have chosen to limit or remove entirely from my “information diet” include radio phone-in shows, Premier League football on television and the (bad) news section of the Sunday newspaper.

We have a choice every day.

At 7am this morning, walking Mrs Dalloway (the Irish terrier) through the snow-covered hedgerows and being transported as Marty Whelan (Marty in the Morning, RTE’s Lyric FM, 7-10am) aired a rendition of a Vivaldi Concerto for Two Mandolins played by Elena Zabavskaya and Ekaterina Mochalova, I thought of Input/Output.

Because Input/Output is not just for stomachs or computers.

Perhaps the most important Input/Output is what we allow into our brain each day, because what we allow in has a massive bearing on what comes out.

Being mindful of what goes in, and the effects it has, is a great place to start.