Checking social media is not a brain break

The following insight came from my podcast interview with Lauren Waldman, where she talked about how to encode memories how to teach someone how to learn.

I feel like there’s often this message of hustling, which I interpretive as pushing yourself. Attention is a limited resource that needs to be periodically replenished. The awareness of how our bodies and minds work to make sure we have time to renew and nourish ourselves to then give ourselves entirely to whatever we’re doing.

Also, I find the part of me feels almost exhausted because when I’m focused, it’s like, Okay, I’m going to take 90 seconds and pay attention to my breathing. There is this subconscious belief that I have so much; to remember to take breaks and remember to move and all these other things. But what I’m also remembering is that like, if I just zoned out on YouTube or looked at Reddit, that’s going to replenish me. And it feels like I am. I’m just kind of scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. But it’s not restorative.

It’s the junk food craving, which it doesn’t satisfy; it doesn’t truly nourish. And so many of the activities that are my go-to; let me check Facebook, let me check Reddit, let me check the news. They don’t give me more energy. They don’t give me more capacity, even though my mind is screaming, Oh, I need this break.

We get satisfied by social media, see something that’s funny, or it’s enjoyable, or whatnot. But when you think about what your brain is processing while you’re doing that. Well, if I’m scrolling through my phone, as mundane as it might sound, I’m still using a motor. It’s not high physical engagement, but it’s still physical engagement. Then my visual areas are processing all of that movement, all of that color, all of that language, all of that listening. It’s just so much to do.

Everyone’s going to have their own versions of what they do to dim those switches; go for a walk, remove yourself from the environment, close your eyes, take a few moments of breath. It’s going to look and feel different. But I think when you don’t understand when your brain, mind, and body don’t understand what dimming feels like, you can come back refreshed. It’s like you’re almost fooling yourself into believing that, No, I’m good. I’ve taken my break and scroll Facebook for 10 minutes. But when you’re just, you’ve continued to use the resource.

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