Stay Focused

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The internet will probably go down as the greatest inventions of all time. Fire and the wheel have been the Magic and Bird of our time and its about time they’ve been dethroned with a Michael Jordan. The capabilities of the internet are far from drying up, but there are also plenty of downsides that come with it.

Like a siren’s song, social media has attracted young people, old people, and even the weird people to partake with all their friends. These sites provide almost instantaneous to connect with friends that moved to Thailand “for work”, but at the same time you’re free to compare your social-media-centric life to people who actually do stuff. I never found the appeal of social media only because I don’t need to compare my life to others to understand how horrible it is.

One downside I hate the most is its tax on focus.

There’s always something happening somewhere. Did World War 3 start yet? Sometimes I can’t tell when I read the news… Between the Youtube videos, Facebook updates, Twitter spamming, Reddit uh-redditing, there is never a dull moment. Class time comes and I can’t focus on what the derivative of John Stamos is before I need to sneak a peek at my phone in case I miss the biggest story of all time. I mean it makes sense that I’d rather be engaged than stare at some textbook that I paid $200 too much for.

Being entertained for hours with no downtime could lead to some strange psychological shifts for these newer generations. The only stops of entertainment occur at school and that can be avoided with ease and the discretion of parents.

My parents were horrible with stopping me from watching television. I’d spend hours watching reruns and I could quote most shows that ran from 3,when I got home, all the way to 7 when I made my dinner. Outcries from parents about television rotting young minds would fill PTA meetings and blamed for everything from global warming to autism.

Now just replace television with the internet and you’ve got today’s kids. Great I already sound like I’m 60 and bitter. Can’t be helped I guess.

Downtime is just as important as being engaged. It allows the mind to figure out what the hell you let it process and store what it deems appropriate. Even though some of the community can get a bit nutty with their claims, meditation has some serious benefits. With how easily our minds can be engaged for these days, lulls become rare and its more difficult for the brain to find the time to do the maintenance it needs. There are a plenty of reasons to avoid playing video games before bed. The blue light makes your body think its day, MULTIPLAYER IS A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT THAT JUST RILES ME UP, and the constant action makes my mind race. Going 100 to 0 from gaming to heading to bed is not as easy as it sounds. Sure its possible and does happen, but slowing down your mind before bed may be a better alternative.

Some days that even while I am not actively doing anything my mind is racing. I’ll be walking to class and its as if my brain is hungering for stimulation. I’m always tempted to put in my headphones to alleviate this feeling, but I manage to catch myself every time. It’s just going to prolong the feeling and it will be impossible for me to focus in class. Sure class is boring without the insatiable hunger of my mind, but it does not help in the slightest. Throughout the day, I try to catch myself and figure out ways to stop myself from always being so stimulated. It is crazy the amount of media available to us. That little phone of yours can keep you entertained for the rest of your life. Don’t get me wrong this is a good thing as well. Much better than living in the medieval times where all you could do for fun was not die.

Is what I’m saying just complete anecdotal fake-science? Probably. After all don’t believe everything you hear on the internet. It’s probably just some placebo effect I get when I actively seek to calm my head down, but it works for me at least. Sometimes when I’m studying I’ll notice that my mind is screaming at me, “Put in some headphones. Listen to some music. Do anything.” A reasonable request. But as soon as I hop on my phone there is not turning back. The music itself will have me more focused on the same songs I play  every day over the class material that is brand new to me. Stupid brain.

Granted I’m a rather extreme example. Growing up an only child with old neighbors, not a lot of friends, and parent who had to work a lot of hours, I was pretty much left to my own devices. Or device really. The tv became my only means of entertainment and I’d watch the same dumb shit every day. I would be able to see a title card of a cartoon and instantly know what happens and who says what. I had seen the episodes that much. I’d go days on end with no social interaction. The television was my only stimuli and I’d watch it from when I got home all the way to bed time.

I could never figure out why I couldn’t fall asleep though…

Wait what was I talking about?

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