We’re living in a social experiment right now, and no one knows quite how it’s going to turn out. Addiction, overconsumption, and dependence on that little device in our pockets is getting wild.
I could be wrong, but based on the recent statistics of how many people are on anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds and suicide rates, the trajectory isn’t looking good.
Now more than ever before, intentionally doing practices to strengthen and protect your mind are not optional if you want to have a good one.
Top Ten Ways You are Destroying Your Mind and What to do About It
6. Using the digital pacifier: Let’s talk about the root reason we check things so often. We want to distract ourselves from feelings. Feeling anxious, bored, overwhelmed, angry, or exhausted.
If we want to master distraction, we must learn to deal with discomfort.
The problem is, when we turn to our phones every spare second we have, it’s acting like a digital pacifier, atrophying our ability to deal with things that are the most difficult.
Emotions are physical molecules in the body that need to move through to complete their life cycle. Distraction stops the cycle.
What to do about it: The 90-Second Cycle of an Emotion: Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard neuroscientist says, “there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”
That means if you really, truly, allow yourself to feel that emotion (be it anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt, envy or anything else) you will experience physiological sensations (or feelings) in your body such as tightening, shortness of breath, increased heart rate and other uncomfortable sensations. As long as you allow that full expression of feeling to move through you, that physiological experience will come and go within 90-seconds.
If you turn to distraction, it won’t.
7. Consuming too much information: Hi, I’m Megan and I am an information addict. Maybe it’s my personality (enneagram five) or maybe it’s how I distract myself from my problems, but taking classes, listening to audiobooks, and reading any chance I get is my idea of a good time. That has helped me in numerous ways, and it’s a serious problem. Some of my biggest mental health issues have come from when I am spending way too much of my time consuming and not enough time digesting what I am consuming. I get anxious, overwhelmed, and unmotivated. I can feel the restlessness within my soul.
We consume more information in ONE day than people 400 years ago consumed in their ENTIRE LIVES.
Our consciousness needs to “digest” every single piece of input we are exposed to. Consume too much and you get (very) bloated. And sick.
What to do about it: Just like fasting from food and allowing your body to digest what it has consumed for the day is needed, so it is with information. I fast from information daily from 8:30pm to 10am and all day on Saturdays. I find this is enough time to allow my mind to digest and assimilate the information without getting overloaded.
8. Body battery on low ? Outside deficient: This is a legit thing. Our body and mind need sun, fresh air, and negative ions from the earth. Just like your phone needs to be charged each day, your body needs to be charged each day by the sun and earth. Without them, not one system of the body can function optimally. More and more research is showing that our bodies were designed to need nature to be healthy. From how the spectrum of light from sunrise and sunset is vital to regulating hormones and neurotransmitters to the microorganisms in the dirt being key to your immune system. If you are not getting up close and personal with nature as often as possible, your mind and body will suffer.
What to do about it: I would say just go outside, but that’s not enticing. The truth is you need to have a reason to go outside and enjoy it. Create outdoor living spaces to which you are drawn. Anything that you can do outside, do. Working out, hanging with friends, playing with kids, cooking, crafting, sports – create excuses that force you to get out.
9. Low-quality inputs = low-quality mind: “The edge is in the inputs. The person who consumes from better sources gets better thoughts. The person who asks better questions, gets better answers. The person who builds better habits, gets better results. It’s not the outcomes. It’s the inputs.” – James Clear
When I deleted social media and all other distracting apps off my phone, Audible and Kindle were the only apps I could open during the day when I was feeling the itch to scroll or distract myself. I was blown away by how much better I mentally felt after two weeks by simply choosing better inputs. I was still consuming things, they were just things that added value to me.
I didn’t realize all of those random, pointless, and distracting videos and updates from people were creating a terrible output in my mind.
What to do about it: Audit your inputs. Is what you are scrolling adding value to you in some way? What could you swap out scrolling social media for that will still itch your scratch to scroll, but actually benefit you?
10. Not mind training daily: We need to play offense and defense here to have a healthy mind that can focus on 2023. Your phone is making your mind weaker and not able to focus. Looking into so many people’s lives each day is creating anxiety and discontentment. To combat this, a daily practice to strengthen your ability to control your mind is a must.
What to do about it: You can’t get muscles without working out, so it is with the mind. You can’t control your attention if you haven’t trained to. Just like you work out every day, you need daily practice to work out your mind, too. It can be as simple as setting a timer for five minutes, choosing something to focus on, and when your mind wanders, bring it back. Each time you bring it back is like lifting a weight. Having a daily mental strength training practice will allow you to control your attention instead of the world controlling it for you.
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