The Internet rewired my brain and somehow I don’t like that upgrade very much.
Do you know that reflex? You’re watching a movie and then you grab your phone to have a look at your push messages. And then five to ten minutes later, you do the same thing. And again. And again. And again…
When I find longerer pieces of text on the web, my first reaction is to hit the instapaper-button, so I can read the text later. Because it’s quite too long for the moment. Of course the chances I’ll read that text later on arent much higher than null percent.
I realize, that I become tired faster, while reading a book. I prefere scrolling over my twitter timeline and get some small pieces of information. And maybe I find an interessting YouTube video, which I will look at. For about five minutes until something else distracts me.
Amazingly, I still manage to concetrate on my work for hours. So my brain seems to function as it did years ago in some parts.
Get back the focus
I am in rehab. For some days. And I have to confess, I do have relapses again and again. I try to train my brain to resist those „notification reflexes“. I am watching a movie and try not to look at my phone. You won’t belive how hard this is, sometimes!
One step after another
Actually it should be pretty ease, shouldn’t it? You do one thing. And just that one thing. But your environment makes that a hard task. The phone is making noices, there is an App jumping up and down the dock. Recently our clocks need attention, too.
So I questioned myself one thing: How does that help me in any way?
What benefits do I have from all those push messages on my phone? Am I more informed when I look at my phone while watching a movie?
The anser is simple: I won’t benefit from that in most cases. As fast as I grab my phone, as fast I forget what I just read. In most cases there is nothing important or urgent.
So I started looking at things differently. I sit down and let myself be distracted. But I do this deliberately.
After that, I’ll care about another thing. And just about this single one. I read a text. I write a text. I watch a video. I write code. I chat with somebody. I dring a tea. I eat.
That’s difficult for me. Very difficult. There is always this reflex of looking at twitter or Instagram. Or opening the messenger-app. But I’ve got the feeling, I’m making progress.
I am meditatoin for years. But I don’t do it very regular. There are times I do it every day and there are times I don’t do it at all. Nevertheless, that practice helps me. This and the knowledge about what it’s all about: appreciate the moment.
Admonish the brain
While meditating, it is not about to sit down and relax. It’s about concentration. You sit down and concentrate on one thing, usually your breath.
Thoughts will come and go. And as soon as you try to concetrate, you get aware of all those things that have to be done. So the most important ability you have to learn, is creating an awareness of your thoughts. As soon as you can master this, you can start controlling your focus.
While meditating you’ll concentrate on your breath. As soon as you realize your mind wanders, you’ll try to shift your focus back to the breath. That’s an endless back and forth. While time is passing the gaps between your toughts will become larger.
This can also be applied to everyday life. The most important ability is to be aware. Whenever you do a thing and realize you brain is getting on a journey, try to focus again on this one thing you do. Reading a book or slicing bread.
I try to adapt to my life, what I’ve learned from meditation. I try to concentrate on one thing. And whenever I realize my thoughts wander, I’ll try to refocus. It said easily, I know, but it is possible!
I invite you to join my experiment. Maybe you’re like me. So let me know if you progress or when or which problemes occure.