No other generation in history has had the opportunity to distract itself as easily as we Gen Y’ers do. This is not necessarily a good thing.. A world of distraction is not a productive one, nor is it a happy one. Perpetual distraction leads us away from what’s truly important in our lives, our attention instead directed towards the trivial and the mundane, the ‘noise’ if you will.
Our brains need a reset once in a while, a form of re-invigoration to ensure they’re running optimally. This is not medical advice, solely the opinion of a guy on the internet. Who really needs doctors anyway?
By tuning out, I don’t necessarily mean getting away from technology entirely (although that would be preferable) but getting away from distraction. Technology itself isn’t the problem, it’s simply an enabler of procrastination. The smartphone may very well be the most potent enabler the world has ever known. What you need, is to disconnect.
Get away from notifications, from the habit of picking up your phone to swipe through your news-feed, an activity that you’re not really engaged in anyway. I’m sure we all already know this is important; there’s a reason this video is so popular..
The best way to do this is to get out into an environment where it’s impossible- hiking for instance. You will have no choice but to engage with your surroundings and your own monkey mind (Buddhas term, not mine.) You’ll likely get a little bored when you start this process and find it hard to deal with. Boredom is the point. It’s a natural state. What’s unnatural, is the continual fending off of boredom through mindless technological browsing.
This is one of the reasons I love hiking and getting out into the mountains. It’s a form of mediation (or perhaps medication?) for me. Once out in the wilderness, you’re completely alone with your own thoughts, allowing them the freedom to drift wherever they so choose. There is no escape, you’re forced to confront these internal tidings that are usually lost in an endless bombardment of information and escapism. We finally get the opportunity to discover what’s important.
We don’t get the chance to truly know ourselves and understand or uncover our wants and desires without this period of introspection. Yes, you can do it in the city but it’s significantly more challenging. You’d be hard pressed to find the same results.
It takes time to tune out. I’m going through the process again as we speak and I’m still a little antsy. I know it what it takes by now though and the results; the calmness, the sharpened mind and the clarity of thought that come with it. Trust me when I say it’s worth it.
Here’s a few of the Benefits that will arise from a period of disconnection:
- Encourages thought and creativity over consumption. When we are distracted, we are consumers pure and simple. Our brains are not fully engaged in the thought
- Prevents comparison, one of the biggest causes of unhappiness in Gen Y’ers. When we browse through our social media accounts we are seeing the highlights of others lives, an action that immediately creates feelings of inadequacy with our own.
- Social Media can be an addiction, pure and simple. The endorphin release from notifications is comparable to a drug addict when scoring a hit.
- There is simply less depth to life through a screen (for instance you can’t have sex through a computer.. yet). You may tend to skim through life rather fully engage.