Do you check your phone first thing when you wake up, then again at breakfast and again after, as well as at lunch on your break and in bed before sleep?
We don’t realise it, but every time we press the home button on our phone to awaken it from it’s sleep and check our social media apps or emails every 10 minutes, we are allowing a tiny speckle of disappointment to seep into our brain. Especially when we have a number of notifications unacceptable to our popularity radar.
Overtime, this tiny little speckle builds up. It builds up into what has been proven to be anxiety, hyperactivity, and depression. All stemming from those little rays of attention grabbing soul destroying rectangles.
Phones have for a lot of us become a habit adding to the cause of hyperactivity. This is not good for the brain as Eva Hoffman of How To Be Bored says, “habitual focus on the instantaneous moment diminishes cognitive memory – the capacity for recall of facts, events, and people”.
Simply, this habit will lead to humans having a memory like a fish and we could lose our autobiographical memory. As the only sentient creatures to have this talent it would be a massive loss. We would ultimately turn into that woman from 50 first dates who wakes up and doesn’t know who she is, and lose all the memory that make us us.
Hyperactivity doesn’t just stem from checking phones habitually, either, but when cooking dinner, eating breakfast, bathing your child, or sitting on the toilet and in the bath. We think that this is a multi tasking skill of ours, but it’s having an impact on our attention span, brain capacity, and energy.
It’s caused so much hyperactivity in some of us Gen Ys, in fact, a lot of you won’t make it to the end of this article because you’ll already be thinking of what you need to do next. I don’t take offence when you don’t make it the bottom. I’ve got the analytics. I know how far you get. No I don’t really, but if I did I wouldn’t blame you. I blame Apple.
(You the little rebel will probably make it an aim to get the bottom now to prove to yourself that what I am writing isn’t true. Or is this reverse psychology? Your brain probably can’t figure it out fast enough you’re probably quite confused now.)
Incessant phone checking welcomes anxiety, too; you’re life isn’t as exciting as the next persons; you’re not showing your life to people how you want it to be seen; you’re suffering from serious FOMO.
The depression mounts and you can’t figure out why, as your anxiety and hyperactivity begin to make you feel like a failure, slower and bored. You then start to realise that you haven’t been fully present for a while now. You regret not just being.
We need to rebel against the rectangle and be more present, and for us Gen Ys to be present again as we were when we were 12 and before it’s too late I think we need to learn how to be bored.
Let’s remind ourselves to smell the rain if you’re in England, the heat if you’re in Australia, and the wind if you’re in New Zealand.
Today is your day to practice boredom with me. Don’t go cold turkey, just turn your phone off for an hour or so and find a place free from external distractions, your happy place if you have one, and allow yourself to retreat temporarily to the privacy of your thoughts and feelings. It’s a scary place for me, too, don’t be afraid.
“make your experiences have meaning and depth to make sure we are not moving through them routinely and shallowly”
1 – Meditate for 5 minutes a day. Don’t sit there and ummmmmmm but close your eyes and sit where is most comfortable and just use your mind to understand how your toes are feeling, then your ankles, and all the way up through your torso and into your head. Overtime, you will begin to develop a better understanding of your self and your surroundings. This was crucial for me as I needed to find an emotion. I was beginning to think I didn’t have any. Turns out, voila, they are in there.
2 – Write a diary. Not a ‘I woke up and went to have a coffee with…’, but a stream of consciousness style diary that recounts the now. For example, I went to my happy place free from distraction and wrote this as an example for you:
As I approached Orewa from the brow of the hill I saw my favourite beach for the first time this summer, and I had a lump of happiness in my throat. I sat on the beach and breathed in the sea air. The sand is now in my bum crack, but as long as my masseuse doesn’t mind, or the beautician giving me my wax, then I don’t mind either. It’s a little bit like an exfoliating bum crack scrub. The sea made it over the tip of my foot, barely at my ankles, yet I still thought one of New Zealand’s great whites would jump out and drag me in to the underworld and it would be assumed after seeing my bag and shoes on the sand and my “how to be bored” book that I was depressed and swam out like Sylvia Plath. But I survived. The sea didn’t kill me, and here I am living to tell the tale as quiet people pass me dragging their feet in the sand probably thinking look at that pretentious twat writing on a beach with her coffee piss off back to Auckland you JAFA (just another fucking Aucklander – for my non-Kiwi reader).
Let me know if you agree with this, and if you’re attention span got you to the bottom 😉
Quotes, and inspiration, are from: