Retraining your brain: We’ve taught ourselves that mindless activities can take the place of hobbies

20180716_202856.jpgIf you’re like me you might be making a big push to spend more time on your hobbies and less time wasting time. I know a lot of people who are doing this, because after all we are in a digital age that runs on wasting time. Instead of going for a hike you’re rewatching a show you’ve seen before on Netflix, or worse, you’re wasting your time scrolling through Netflix for something to watch. We mindlessly scroll and we know it’s a problem, so a lot of us are trying to fix it.

But adding our hobbies back into our lives often feels like a chore. I talked about how going from a mindless activity to a mindful activity often seems like hard work, and I think we can agree just by how hard it is to talk ourselves into doing the things we love.

We love them, it should be easy, but it never is. So we add it to our to do list, we force ourselves to do them. Maybe that’s the only way to break the cycle, to make yourself get up and act. Maybe it’s harder to channel motivation to do it in a more natural way. Maybe it takes some time to build up the excitement you used to have. But if it lasts for more than the first two weeks you have to really look at why these things still feel like chores to you.

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Our electronics are getting smarter. Are we?

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I keep thinking about how I need to be spending less time online, because I’m not only spending my free time sucked into a device, but I’m also doing it at work now. I’ll unplug briefly while on the horse or at dinner with a friend, but I feel like the only time I’m truly 100% unplugged is when I’m asleep and that is terrifying.

I’ve read a lot of posts and articles on smartphone addiction and every time I do I feel great proudly announcing that I’m not addicted to my phone, because in fact, I actually forget my phone and don’t have it on me all that often. But here’s the hitch, and it’s a really big one, I’m addicted to my laptop, so it really doesn’t matter whether I have my phone or not. Obviously with a laptop I’m only drawn to it when I’m at home. When I’m out of the house I don’t think about checking anything or tweeting out, but the moment I step through my front door I feel a gravitational pull towards it.

I’ve fallen into a routine of checking certain sites for updates, and listening to lectures and podcasts while I do it so I feel productive. I’m not being productive. I’m feeding myself the exact same type of information every single day. It’s become completely mindless.

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