When we realize that we are designed for action, it is easier to understand why our brain has been caught by the spell of the screens. An experiment conducted at the universities of Harvard and Virginia (USA) makes it clear to us. The researchers proposed a treatment to a group of volunteers: they had to remain seated in a room without stimuli for 15 minutes. If they wanted to leave before that time, they could do it, but after receiving an electric shock. 67% of the men and 25% of the women chose the discharge before being with a blank mind. So oriented is our brain, in a natural way, towards search for news. If we combine this innate tendency with the boom of Internet and the smartphonesIt is not strange that we got into trouble.
Simultaneously our daily tasks with attention calls in the form of notifications of Instagram and beeps from Whatsapp It is altering the way the brain works. The avalanche of digital information it forces you to operate in multitasking mode and constantly jumps from one focus to another quickly. At the same time, this digital avalanche prevents us from remaining focused on the realization of a single task, that we become impatient and let's decente. Can we do something to restore mental balance? Well, in addition to sleeping and exercising, there are other measures. We advise you to try them all.
Leave the multitasking
The University of Illinois (USA) proved that trying to do something while the intrusions of the digital world attract our attention affects short-term memory (which almost disappears), reduces the ability to think creatively and stress the brain. Other research from the University of London showed that this work multitask It leaves our IQ at the level of that of an eight-year-old child. The reason? Neuroscientist Kaja Nordengen, author of Your Super Brain (Planet), explains: "What really happens when you think you can read a report and at the same time ask for food on the mobile is that the brain tries to go from reading quickly to formulating the request . The result is that you need more time than if you had ordered the food first and then read the report. Further, your brain can be paralyzed, because the prefrontal cortex does not manage to change focus immediately, which will cause a performance failure ". If you want to be effective and not exhaust your mental resources, do things one at a time.
Learn to get bored
The messages activate the reward circuit of the brain.
Allow yourself Do not do anything five minutes a day. That is what Sandi Mann, a researcher at the Central University of Lancashire (United Kingdom), author of The Art of Knowing Bored (Editorial Platform), advises. Mann has verified by magnetic resonance to what extent our brains are hooked to the smartphone and your notifications: every time we receive a new email or interesting information via Google, the reward circuit of our brain lights up and there is a dopamine peak that makes that novelty transform into a feeling of pleasure. That's why the more new data we have, the more we want, which leads us to constantly check the mobile phone to get them. The antidote? If you walk down the street, do not listen to music; if you drive, either; If you wait for the bus, look around you, not at your mobile. Let your mind wander aimlessly one time each day and, according to the researcher, you will recover creativity and concentration.
Supply consumption to your mind (but good)
The brain is addicted to the sweet, but it is better that you do not give it to it in its processed form. A high sugar intake It leads, like drugs, to a release of dopamine from the nucleus accumbens brain. The problem is that, if you usually stuff yourself with sugar, your level of dopamine is altered making it always low and you will need more sugar every time and more often to stabilize that threshold. In addition, a study from the University of UCLA has shown that a diet rich in fast sugars undermines the ability to process and retain information. So, What is there to eat to keep the brain in shape? Try foods that benefit you: blue fish, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and probiotic foods, such as yogurt.
Remove the phone from your sight
The omnipresence of smartphones in our lives has a cognitive cost. An investigation carried out by the universities of Texas and California (USA) has proven that their mere presence in our visual field causes an authentic "brain drain". In their experiment, 800 volunteers had to carry out a complicated task on the computer. The difference between one and another is that some had the phone on the desk and others did not. Guess who worked the worst?
The group that had the mobile in sight. According to these researchers, having the smartphone in our field of vision "consumes" brain resources and reduces cognitive ability... although we did not consult it. Therefore, in the office, leave the mobile in your bag or in a drawer.
Make friends (of the real ones)
Those who use more networks focus less
In U.S.A. the 59% of the population admits being dependent on social networks and half of those "addicts" say that because of him he is unable to concentrate. Exaggerated? Maybe not so much. Microsoft Canada published a report in 2000 stating that the concentration period of the average human was 12 seconds. In 2013, that figure had been reduced to only eight seconds (the goldfish are able to concentrate nine). In addition, the software giant asked 2,000 young adults to focus on a series of numbers and letters that appeared on a computer: the results of those who spent less time on social networks were better. And as the icing on the cake, the American Academy of Pediatrics itself has coined the term "Facebook depression" to the negative effect (isolation, low self-esteem ...) that social networks can provoke in adolescents. Therefore, if you want to recover the ability to concentrate and maintain the intact self-esteem, close your profiles in networks and recover the friends of flesh and blood.
Go back to the analog
Designing the agenda by hand strengthens memory.
Write down the messages and the shopping list in a notebook of the lifetime. If you also want to awaken creativity and memory, dare to turn the agenda into a bullet journal. This method proposes plan all activities in a blank notebook, where you can dump all your creativity by drawing from the numbering to the months, the pending tasks and those made. The only rule to follow is that everything must be handmade. Elaborating your agenda in this way involves several sensory motor activities, which, in the long run, strengthens our ability to memorize. Much better than simply asking the mobile to send us an alert about this or that event.
Manage your apps better
Prevention is better than cure: do not let the phone take your mind's attention. Use the applications one by one, instead of jumping from one to another; and do not let yourself be carried away by the inertia of opening them all to check the news. Uninstall all those that steal time and have no real use. Y say goodbye to the vibration, pop-up windows ... Silence any mechanism that alerts you that something new has reached the phone, let your brain forget about it.
Take the mobile out of the bedroom
The orange light of dusk causes the pineal gland in our brain to secrete a hormone called melatonin that causes us to sleep. But what happens when we replace sunsets with the blue light of a screen? A group of scientists from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York measured how much melatonin was secreted by a group of volunteers after using a tablet for two hours at night: 22% less. Conclusion: do not use any digital device the two hours before going to sleep.
Monitor your usage time
Most users invest in their mobile more than three hours a day.
A study on nomophobia (the panic to be left without mobile, without data or without coverage) made by the International University of La Rioja concluded that almost 25% of adolescents were risk users of their smartphone. Maybe you think you use your devices in their proper measure, but there are ways to check it. Moment is an app created by Kevin Holesh, an American developer who got tired of always being connected. The result of his work was this app, which allows to monitor the use of the smartphone (it says how many times it is consulted and for how long) and limit the daily time devoted to the screens. According to the data that the creator of Moment handles, the majority of its users spend three hours a day on their devices and consult them 39 times a day ... but they are obviously worried about their exposure to digital world. A study published in Plos One does not give such moderate data: it talked about five hours a day connected to the mobile and 85 daily interactions. No doubt, too many for our brain, which can become addicted to digital life.
If you sleep less to be able to stay connected longer, the people around you have complained about your use of the mobile phone, you are irritated if the connection is slow or you have proposed to consult less your devices, but you have not succeeded, you lie about it real time you spend on the internet ... you should ask for help. Every time we receive a WhatsApp or retweet us activates the dopaminergic system of the brain, which is responsible for secreting dopamine, the hormone that causes pleasurable sensations and relaxation. And we confuse that small sense of pleasure with happiness, even if it is not, which opens the door to digital addiction.
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