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Aug
16

This is your brain. This is your brain on social media. Any questions?

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America ran a number of TV ads back in the 1980’s highlighting the dangers of doing drugs. The frying egg spots struck a nerve with a number of adolescents back then including myself. Although still prevalent today, there is a new drug of choice among many: social media. Over-connectivity or stimulus overload, social media is fast becoming an addictive and powerful stimulant to many.

Today, it’s not uncommon to hear about companies banning  social media from the workplace.  The effectiveness of such policies are still subject to debate as tech-savvy employees can usually work around this to get their fix, but the point is employers see it as as a total time suck. (reminds me of an employer who asked how to keep her employees from using social media while at work, and then lamented she has no time to use social media to promote her business – hmmmm)

New York Times article highlights a group of  scientists who set out on the San Juan River “to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.”  Going beyond mere social media, they cut themselves off from all forms of technology and connectivity.

Imagine the horror of not being able to receive email via your smartphone?  Or worse, not being able to read visual voice mail or send text messages?  Oh the humanity!!!  Seriously, it’s not all that bad.  In this modern era of always-on instant transmission/reception it’s sometimes good (and necessary) to unplug.  It seems to allow oneself to clear the mind and be free of distraction.

You can sometimes experience this just by going for a run or a bike ride (provided you leave the phone and mp3 player behind)  Ever hear people say they get their best ideas while working out or doing something physical?  There really is something to this.  For maximum effect go on a weekend or week long adventure to place where cellular signals can not penetrate.  This way if you get tempted to turn on your phone, you’ll be greeted with nothing but “No Signal”.

You may just find that “No Signal” in the digital world translates into “Strong Signal” in the brainpower/creativity world.

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  • http://coachdebfitness.com Deb

    Great reminder. I recently unplugged for almost a whole week while on vacation. Even though I wasn’t completely unplugged. Still checked messages daily on my smart phone, I did notice better creativity and more positive thoughts while biking and hiking without all those digital distractions.

  • http://lisajohnsonfitness.com Lisa Johnson

    I’ve only been on a smartphone for 18 months but it’s amazing how much my life has been sucked into that little black box. I am constantly posting on twitter & checking email. It’s helped my social media presence and my branding but it’s also caused my husband to institute a no checking email at the dinner table rule. (I hang my head in shame.)

    It’s always good to remember to unplug from the electronics. I do it now at least an hour before going to bed and it does seem to help me sleep better.

    Thanks for the post,

    Lisa