How much screen time have you had this past year?
If you like myself have increased your screen time dramatically you might start really feeling the affects right now. Not only physically but mentally as well. There is so much coming at us, news platforms, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, even Pinterest. It's a sea of information out there and we are swimming in it.
I grew up in the era where my parents bought a set of encyclopedias from the door to door salesman as that was one of the only ways to look up information. I'm from a small town so our library was not going to be of much help. Think a library full of books the locals didn't want anymore...
This all changed around my freshman year of high school. The internet was just starting to become popular. It was the dial up where it made the noises and took 5 minutes or so to connect. Remember a rural town which means even slower, which is still true to this day down there.
Most of us weren't spending hours surfing the internet because our parents needed to use the phone. Again pre cellphone era as well. Fast forward to college cellphones are getting popular, no internet though mostly for calling and texting and boy you better not go over your texting limit or you will pay an arm and a leg. The internet was still quite slow, the computers quite clunky so again we didn't surf the internet for fun. You went on to do your school work and hopped off.
Now Facebook came about my junior year of college. I refused to join. I thought it was silly. Why connect on there, when I see all of my friends on campus and can just ask how they are doing? Eventually I was talked into it my senior year before I graduated to stay connected to folks.
Eventually phones became what they are this day, mini computers. Computers became sleeker, more social media apps came about and we are talking in a matter of 12 years. A drastic shift of the way we use technology. Which is wonderful. There are beautiful things about technology that open new doors for us all. Including you listening to this podcast.
We also have more information at our fingertips than ever before and it makes it hard to discern who to trust, what is truth and you can find how people easily get pulled down rabbit holes. Our brains literally have not been wired to absorb this much information at all times. It's too much for so many of us and I'm just talking about adults. If you're in your mid 30's or above you've experienced life before all of the hyper awareness of everything life that we have right now. Kids haven't which is why it's even more important for parents to help them be discerning about what they consume.
What can we do?
For myself I've found I really need to be discerning about who I'm learning from. Meaning taking in educational information. I have found trusting my instincts about someone. For example you're on Instagram and this "influencer" has a ton of followers and is supposed to be the most spiritual grounded person but you keep getting these off putting vibes.
Trusting your intuition vs the numbers.
1. Those numbers can be bought.
2. Trust yourself. If you constantly are doubting that inner voice life will be so much more exhausting than it needs to be.
Another way to find discernment is take a break. Pratyahara in yogic terms is awareness of your 5 senses. With so much screen time and information flying at us we can't digest and process it all. Most things online are designed to have us spend as much time on them as possible. That's why Instagram has reels now, and focuses on video content it wants people to be absorbed in the content and stay awhile here are more recommended videos.
I think there are wonderful things about social media but I think it can also further jade people, or make you completely uproot your belief systems as I've seen done with a family member this past year. For myself I've decided to take the summer off the gram. I think there are beautiful things about it but at the end of the day this past month break for myself has shown me how much I appreciate not being on it.
I can focus on being present fully on bike rides with my son, not thinking I should film something so I can make a reel later, or constantly thinking about what photo or infographic do I need to make next. Now if you're not a content creator you probably don't have that same thoughts on IG but you might start to compare yourself to the mom down the street sharing her perfectly cut sandwiches, or meal delivery that she made into this 3 course meal. You look down at the chicken nuggets & fries you're feeding your kid and feel like crap. To me that's not a healthy thing.
One thing I remind myself is it's my choice on what I consume.
Audit what you consume on a daily basis. What websites do you find yourself pulled in on, what social media apps are you spending time on? Next make a plan. If it doesn't feel good do something about it. Today is the new moon (May 11th) it's a wonderful time to set an intention for the following month. That's what I did last new moon cycle to take a month long break which will now be a summer break. Get intentionally with yourself and get to know you on a deeper level vs the social media you.
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