I’m sure we’ve all heard the study by now…
You know, the one that says humans have a shorter attention span than a simple goldfish.
What’s crazy about this study is that it states when it comes to focusing on one thing, goldfish can actually focus longer than humans with an attention span of 8 seconds and 7 seconds respectively.
That’s a pretty remarkable finding when you think about it and it shows the true nature of the human mind…
We’re all a little ADD.
Ahhh, no wonder we can’t stop
In today’s hyper-connected Internet based society, it’s easier now more than ever to lose focus and find our minds scattered and exhausted.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are specifically designed to keep our attention and act on our neurochemistry to keep us addicted to their products.
Each year social media giants spend billions of dollars to develop products that keep us hooked.
Designers of these social media sites use neurologically engrained reward systems, such as dopamine to ensure we keep scrolling through their feeds.
Perhaps scariest of all is the fact that we as a society are only becoming more dependent on our technology and there is no sign in sight of that slowing down any time soon.
With each new iPhone released to the public, our lives become more interwoven with technology and it’s possible that one day we won’t know where our lives end and technology begins…
Now, if you’re like me, you are desperately trying to find ways to unplug and maintain a level of mindfulness and presence throughout the day.
Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon two easy ways to help cultivate a little more mindfulness throughout our busy and often times chaotic day.
Turn off your notifications
Many of us don’t even realize how much of an influence these notifications have on our day to day living.
Most of us don’t know that when the phone rings, our brain is hard-wired to want to pick it up.
In fact the whole notification system is one giant feedback loop wherein a notification induces a trigger which then produces a response, which in turn reinforces the urge to check our phone when it buzzes.
We never really stand a chance because the dopamine hit resulting from the trigger and response system is too alluring.
Every time we check our phone we are effectively rewarding our mind for losing focus and attention. This back and forth between focus and distraction causes tremendous mental fatigue and can impact our lives in more ways than one.
When you turn your notifications off however, you take back control of your life so to speak.
You are no longer jostled around from one meaningless task to the next based on the whims of your social media alerts.
By stopping our notifications, WE get to decide where and when we want to respond to those pesky social media “to-do’s.”
Most phones make it super easy to turn off your notifications in the “settings” options but if you’re like me, you can always opt for the good old fashioned “do not disturb mode” which will only alert you if someone calls twice in a row and nothing else!
The social media detox
If you find that simply turning off your notifications won’t stop you from losing the present moment, you can always try a social media detox.
Just like a real detox, the name of the game is abstinence which means no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram, no nothing!
The longer we can abstain from our devices the more social media toxins we flush out of our bodies which can ultimately lead us back to a place of balance and homeostasis.
The first time I did a social media detox was while I was on my silent meditation retreat last year.
At first, the thought of giving up my phone gave me anxiety but after a while, I actually felt great and it was a huge relief to not be encumbered by my phone or the outside world.
Without my phone in my pocket I was forced to face the present moment as it was and in those moments, I found peace and true introspection.
Now, you obviously don’t need to go on silent meditation retreat to get the benefits of a social media detox.
I’ve heard of people doing intermittent detoxes one day each week.
I’ve also heard of individuals using the last 4 hours of their day as a time to get away from their screens until the next morning. Or those who only check their social media in the morning and then don’t allow themselves to check it until the following morning.
Either way you decide to do pursue these strategies, I encourage you to unplug every once and a while.
Instead of wondering what’s going on in the Twitterverse, focus on what’s going on in your universe.
See your mind and stop running from the present moment because this moment is the realest thing you’ll ever have in your life!
There will always be things around to distract us and as technology continues to improve, it will be incumbent upon us to maintain a certain level of head space and presence.
So put your phone down and enjoy the life you have because nothing can beat the power of the present moment.
Thank you as always for reading.
Let us know YOUR plan on creating space between you and your social media devices.
Have you done so already?
If so, what are the benefits you’ve seen?
Please do share because you never know when something you say will impact someone else in a profound way.