I lay in bed late at night, scrolling through Instagram. Beautiful pictures from all over the world flash before my eyes. Hikers on Mountaintops, skiers on slopes, rivers, forests, lakes and post after post with smiling people and beautiful sceneries. I scroll faster and faster as if I’m trying to get away from it all. Eventually I put my thumb at the bottom of my screen and swipe up with full force, sending my Instagram feed spinning for what seems like forever.
All of a sudden I feel totally exhausted, like I can’t take any more of it. Suddenly it feels like my brain hurts. It feels as if all of my brain cells are being burnt at the same time and it sends my body into total panic mode. I close my eyes almost in a reflex and I throw my phone on the bed beside me.
As I lay there in bed with my eyes closed, the room silent around me, I feel stupid.
Stupid that I let myself get caught by the social media monster, once again. Stupid because I let my brain get burned only to watch beautiful photos on Instagram. Stupid, because what I really need right now is sleep, not a flashing smartphone before my eyes.
Have you ever felt it? The fatigue that comes from spending too much time in front of a screen. Scrolling through endless amounts of pointless information that needs to be processed in our brain? We all know that we should spend less time on our smartphones, but we just can’t help it. It’s like something is dragging us in there, capturing our attention and casting a spell on us that makes it impossible to leave. And when you think about it, that’s exactly what’s going on.
Smartphones and social media are not built the way they are, only for us to connect to other people and simplify our lives.
When you think about it, it’s obvious. Everything is designed for us to consume as much information as possible, and spend as much time as possible on our devices. That’s what all the big tech companies make money off of. Our time on their devices and platforms. They sell our presence there to companies that want to make money, and they use the information that they gather to build more tools and gadgets that will capture our attention. And in the end, make more money.
Many of the apps, gadgets and social platforms that we use have been designed with many psychological aspects taken into consideration. ‘You might like this, someone like you liked that, a friend thought this was useful’ and all the other things that they do to keep us scrolling. I know that my brain needs to rest every now and then in order to process information. Still I find myself on these late night scrolling frenzies that do nothing but harm to my brain and my creativity, and in the end, my life.
We need time with no visual stimulation for our brains to process and rest. We need it in order to heal, be healthy and in order to feel happiness and create new things.
With Christmas and holidays coming up soon I encourage you to leave your phone behind. Just let it be. Give it to someone or lock it in a cage if you need to, but step away. Enjoy life and all the moments and people in it. Talk to the people that you are in the same room as, no others. And think about whatever pops into your mind spontaneously, whatever that might be. Let your mind wander and be free. Don’t spend your holiday filling your brain and your life with something that a developer at Facebook or Google designed for you.
Because if you think about it, have you ever felt truly happy while scrolling through your phone? No? Then that’s your cue. Go out there and enjoy life as it is. No one has a better gift for you than the present. ♡
Facebook does a lot of good research and help in many ways. But it’s good to be aware of what affect it might have on us and why they all do it. After all, they profit on my burnt brain cells and lack of sleep.