all my heroes are weirdos

We're All Mad Here

dopamine junkies

Steve Jobs & Bill Gates raised their kids tech free, old-school schools are popping up all over Silicon Valley and tech industry parents want their kids to get back to basics. Surely it’s a bit of a warning sign if the spinners of the world wide web don’t want their offspring caught up in it all?

Over four billion of us are spending an average of six hours a day tangled up in the Digital Dreamcatcher.

Back in 1980, Alvin Toffler got out his crystal ball and predicted so many things that would unfold over the next four decades. According to Toffler, we’ve experienced three major shifts, or waves, throughout human history in which we’ve morphed into our next state of existence.

The first was our move away from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural one, when the invention of the plough had a dramatic impact on society and some believe caused an cataclysmic depreciation in the “value” of women. The second wave was our shift into industrialism and mass everything. And now we find ourselves waist-deep in the Third Wave – the Information Age.

We’re constantly connected, pelted with information at a rate we can’t even comprehend and our digital environment is outpacing our evolutionary ability to adapt.

As part of my quest for a more mindful life, living Squanderlust free as the best version of me, I thought I’d give my digital addiction some thought…

I attended a Funzing event in Manchester at Twenty Twenty Twos in the Norther Quarter. Anastasia Dedyukhina, founder of digital detox agency Consciously Digital, was on stage for ninety minutes talking about The Neuroscience of Digital Distractions. After realising how her online life was superseding her offline time, she’d decided to make a conscious effort to reduce her digital digestion.

The talk focused on what our digital environment is doing to our brains…

In this Blitzkrieg of data, our memories are weakening. If we can’t remember something, we hit up the google search bar without even thinking to dust off the archives in our head. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.

Multiple tabs open, hyperlinks, email and message notifications by the minute. Our brains can’t sit still and we’re in a constant state of alert as we’re bombarded with these miniature distractions. Even the micro-decision in our brain deciding whether or not to click on a hyperlink can make us lose focus. And if we do choose to take the bait and check that email, read that whatsapp message or click that hyperlink, it will take us an average of 64 seconds to refocus on our original task.

Generation Dopamine Junkie

e’re overdosing on likes and matches and momentary popularity, turning them into cravings and wanting more and more and more, but never quite getting enough.

Anastasia asked the audience if they’d had an urge to check their phones within the first five minutes and pretty much everybody raised their hands, myself included. It’s a real addiction. And just as they say to drug addicts, you can’t get rid of an unhealthy cravings, you have to replace them with healthy obsessions.

Swap the Dopamine for some Seratonin.

Armed with a few fun facts, bucketloads of self-reflection and a few quick and easy life hacks, I checked myself into Digital Rehab…

1. Remove the distraction triggers – turn off all notifications
2. Say Goodnight – once I get myself a reliable alarm clock, technology will be banned from the bedroom. For now, just keeping it at a distance and switching off when it’s time to sleep helps
3. Plan for digital distractions – no notifications means having control over when you’re digitally distracted. I’m setting time aside for some mindful social media indulgence
4. Do good stuff – for me my happy place is breathing in fresh air, surrounded by green things, preferably pedaling a bicycle or doing anything with friends.

Leave the phone at home.

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