“According to Pew Research, more than 69% of adults and 81% of teens use social media daily, with more than 90% of teens using it for more than 4 hours daily.
I just put my phone down yet again. Like most people. I pick it up unconsciously and start scrolling through things that have no bearing or benefit for my daily life. This is, sadly, our new normal.
In a recent NeuLinehealth.com article, “According to Pew Research, more than 69% of adults and 81% of teens use social media daily, with more than 90% of teens using it for more than 4 hours a day.
The constant ability to access social media through smartphones means our brains are exposed to high volumes of stimulation and our neurons are firing all day long, which creates changes in the neurological architecture of our brain.
Research demonstrates regular social media use is changing our brain structure, function, and cognitive development. This puts our brains in a constant state of multitasking, thus hindering our ability to focus and shortening our attention span.
Researchers believe that since social media competes for your attention with the promise of continuous new content, heavy social media users become less able to ignore distraction in general, which leads to poorer cognitive performance and shrinks parts of the brain associated with maintaining concentration.”
I recently was given an opportunity to experience the glorious results of focused attention. While studying for a complex certification exam I decided to push the test date up almost a week. In truth, I was tired of studying and ready to have the long exam off my mind and off my ‘’to-do’ plate.
As a result, I had thirty-six hours of the final preparation. Over the past months, I had gone through all twenty-five content modules and multiple practice tests. I became determined to change my old narrative of not being a good test taker. I was determined to pass.
With the power of a strong determination came an intense focus. Honestly, it was amazing and empowering and a feeling long forgotten.
Off went the phone, there was no scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, no immediate response to text messages or phone calls. There was pure, uninterrupted focus on the task at hand, reviewing what was necessary to pass the exam.
It was as if I was taken back to a different time. While I did allow breaks to get up, stretch, get some fresh air, and reboot, there was no distraction.
What happened? A feeling of energy and excitement erupted, and I became consumed by the material. The deeper into the test prep I got the deeper became my determination to pass.
The material started making sense in a way it had not during more fractured, social media-interrupted review sessions. Frankly speaking, I was happy to be ‘’disconnected’ from my phone and ‘connected’ to my life.
As the result, I did pass a difficult exam on the first try. The law of cause and effect permeates everything we do, and this was shown yet again. I was elated at passing, having the certification complete, and crossing the task off my list.
There was, however, a bigger by-product of the preparation process. I saw the power of real focus. I saw that I could be off my phone and life continued, but it was also better than when I am constantly checking IG or feeling the need to scroll through email I know hasn’t changed. Ironically, the need to have that engaged feeling and get things done in such an effective way has re-emerged in full force.
I did not realize how much I missed focusing on a task uninterrupted by things of no relevance. And, by the way, there will be more time for purposeful actions. A by-product of shutting down society.
I invite you all to try putting the phone down and shut it off, and you won’t die. Focus on a task that needs to be completed. I think you will be shocked and elated with the result.
What needs real focus for you right now? Test it out.
YOU ARE WINNING!!!