Our mobile devices have made life much more convenient. But if we're truly honest with ourselves, it has also made life more challenging in ways we never imagined.
Studies have confirmed that staying connected 24/7 to our smartphones is causing our brains to be overstimulated. You've probably woken up in the morning and the first thing you did was reach for your smartphone to check your notifications.
This constant pursuit of connectivity during the day is actually causing our brains to lose mental focus. Ever woken up after seven hours of shut-eye and still feel tired and groggy? Most likely it's because your brain is just ... drained.
There is good news, however. Experts have plenty of recommendations to help the brain rest and renew.
1. Treasure your downtime
The running joke is that nobody has downtime these days because we are constantly busy. Flip that notion upside down because your brain needs it during the normal course of your busy routine. Downtime means calming your brain down with activities that can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. For example:
- Practice mindful meditation.
- Listen to music
- Look at artwork.
- Watch a YouTube clip of your favorite comedian to make you laugh.
- Have positive conversations with friends (negative conversations appear to overly activate your brain).
- Take a hot shower.
- Go on a short nature walk.
- Take a power nap
2. Give your tech a break
Do you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out)? You know, that uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you're missing out on what your peers, friends, and connections may be sharing or commenting? If you find yourself checking social media like a nervous twitch so you don't feel out of the loop, you probably suffer from it and should give your tech a break.
3. Try a digital detox
In extreme cases, a digital detox program may be the solution to break your tech addiction. One 30-Day Tech Detox program, which I'm fond of, may be the hardest thing you'll ever do. But you'll thank yourself later. Here is a description of days 10, 11, and 12 of your digital detox.
- Day 10. Refrain from using technology in the car, except when you need GPS assistance.
- Day 11. Refrain from using while waiting for something to begin, such as a movie, a play, a concert, or a social interaction.
- Day 12. Refrain from using during events--for example, at concerts, the theater, or children's recitals.
4. Change your bedtime ritual
A National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll found that 95 percent of Americans use technology within the last hour before lights out. Our brains pay the price for these late-night tech fests. It's important to learn what brain-calming activities you personally find relaxing and enjoyable, and which ones cause it to be overactive.
Try these digital wind-down ritual tips every night:
- Unplug one to two hours before bed to allow your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.
- Replace tech with some invaluable me time that includes reading, writing, praying, or meditating.
- Read hard copies of your favorite book, preferably one where the topic and writing style requires using less brain power.
- You'll find some television shows relaxing and others invigorating, so use your best judgment.
- Try a crossword puzzle, if it feels brain-calming.
- Store all digital devices in an area of the house other than the bedroom.
- Use an alarm clock rather than your smartphone as a wake-up device.
Hopefully, by utilizing these tips and making better choices, you can reset your overstimulated brain today in order to have better focus and more brain power tomorrow.