Shut It Off!
Have you checked your email today? How many times? How many video games have you played? You watch any YouTube today? Is the TV on right now along with streaming or maybe Netflix, Hulu or Roku? Or heaven forbid, you're binging on CNN or Fox News, filling your head with all that news, fake or otherwise, depending on your viewpoint. You doing Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook or some other social media?
But what do all these have in common? Sensory input and sensory stimulation, the more the merrier (or depressing/irritating).
And then you wonder why you feel your anxiety is gradually on the increase as time goes by. Or that maybe you can't sleep as well at night and wonder what's wrong. Many of us still have the compulsion or even an inner obligation to watch the news at 10 o'clock, just before we go to bed.
Oh no! What if we go to sleep and we miss something really, really important like (fill in the blank). Local news...there was a shooting, a politician lied and/or embezzled, there's an opiod crisis, a great political divide continues and some bad guys are out on bail.
You have to check your portfolio...you must check your scores...you need to read your newsfeed...you need to answer those survey questions...you need to read your text at a traffic light...you need to ask Siri the height of Mt. Everest (29,035 feet)...
Or your child has a temper tantrum because he just can't drag himself away from his videogame which is blowing up his tiny brain with mega-doses of dopamine from all the killing and carnage he's just engaged in (but they're aliens, so it doesn't matter, right?).
Instead, perhaps you can find some time to bring down your personal power grid and shut it all off and listen to the silence. Our brains weren't made to have non-stop stimulation...some, yes, but not constantly. When the brain is subjected to constant stimulation it causes anxiety and overload which results in stress and irritability but because our cyberspace culture is so prevalent, many of us don't realize that it has a negative effect and we just keep on going, constantly looking for the next hit of stimulation. And if it's momentarily pleasurable, our brains release a hit of dopamine, the pleasure chemical which can then set off a chain reaction of seeking more and more hits, just like any addict with another negative result--we can't get enough of what doesn't satisfy us!
So shut it off...just for a while!