DAY 26: Clicking Zombie

Life is what happens between wifi signals
— Anonymous

Day 26: Self Reflection

On Day 26 of your workbook, take a minute to analyze your social media network.


Day 26 Micro-Science: Brain and Screen Time

Unless you have been trapped in a a cave for the last fifteen years, your aware that smartphones and screens consume the majority of our attention on a daily basis. Social media and other addictive time consuming entertainment sources are part of our daily lives whether we like it or not. The effects these “glowing rectangles” have on our brain is just starting to be understood, but one thing that seems certain is that screens and the constant stimuli they provide are something that our brains are attracted to. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we would “orient” towards eye catching stimuli that are moving fast with loud noises and filled with social information which humans innately crave. Overall, it seems that our technological innovations have just outpaced the brains ability to evolve. Companies and advertisers have then tapped into that disparity and used it for their gain and not yours. Let me be clear, however, that I’m not recommending throwing out your smartphone and moving into a log cabin in Alaska (although that does sound kinda nice). What I’m advocating for is fully looking at your phone, computer, and T.V. usage and asking yourself “how is this working out for me?”

  • FACT: 80% of casual conversation is about social information. Highest dopamine (pay attention chemical) surge for gossip is negative information about someone slightly above you in rank and positive information about someone slightly below you.

  • TAKEAWAY: Evolution is a hard thing to shake off and our brains are programmed to constantly be searching for opportunities or threats to where we stand in the rank hierarchy.

Day 26 Meditation: Time Away from the Clicking Zombie

It may seem like the easiest thing in the world to stay away from screens for a small amount of time each day, but the reality has become that we are more attached to our screens then we would like to admit. However, once you start taking small breaks from it, you start to realize the world isn’t going to end if its not within reach. Heck.. you might even start to enjoy leaving it in your car on occasion.

  • FACT: In today’s world of modern media we take in five the amount of daily information then we did in 1984. Taking in approximately 34gb or 100k words daily, that same rate would crash a computer within two weeks.

  • TAKEAWAY: Our brains need a break and the world around you isn’t gonna take a break, so you have to learn to take a break from it.

Day 26 Meditation: Today’s meditation is to put your smartphone and computer away from three to five hours and have no screen time for a chunk of your day. You’ll survive I promise.

“When asked “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”, the Dalai Lama answered:

“Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
— Dalai Llama

Day 26 Movement Task: Phone off

Have you looked yourself in the mirror lately and asked yourself who is truly in charge here, have your screens become the dictators of where your attention lies, “are you the master or the servant in this relationship?" But most of all become aware of the fact that just because “everybody’s doing it,” doesn’t mean that its in your best interest. Giving up or cutting down on these sources of dopamine can feel as hard as giving up any addiction, it will be uncomfortable and anxiety provoking, So I have used tools like “Freedom” app that controls how often I can get onto social media so I’m not tempted to reach out in any moments of inactivity. We’re all human an sometimes our brains don’t know whats best for us, so use the resources you have around you to regain control.

  • FACT: 36% of people have checked their phones during sex, teenagers text 3000 texts per month, kids on average have seven hours of screen time per day, 70% of people sleep with their phones.

  • TAKEAWAY: We now spend more time with screens than we do with the people around us.

Day 26 Movement Task: For today’s movement task check out the app called "Freedom" on the app store. You don't have to buy it, just check it out. This app helps you when you can't help yourself by letting you dictate when you can or cannot log onto certain websites that are stealing your time away from you.

Day 26 Bonus Material:

#1) 5 Crazy Ways Social Media is Changing Your Brain Right Now

Social media has somewhat run rampart in our culture with not a ton of good research about what it is doing to our brains. However, some good studies have been done and watch this great short video to find out how social media is changing your brain.

#2) Ted Talk: Quit Social Media

I do find it somewhat ironic that I watched this Ted Talk about quitting social media on social media, but whatever. Its still a pretty cool message and one that I’m trying to… slowly… implement into my life.

#2) Benefits of Good Posture:

Screens have been screwing with our posture for too long. You may not need yet another reason to get off your phone but this short TED Ed gives some great physiological reasons to cut back on your screen use.