The Mind Feeds

Image courtesy of ThoughtCatalog

Post. Tweet. Share. Repeat.

We are all victims of it. We wake up, shut off the alarm, and instantly check to see if we had gotten notifications while we were sleeping. We start and continue our days scrolling through posts and photos, not satisfied of getting enough. We even end our days with our phones underneath our pillows. We cannot resist to check our social feed. Why can’t we disconnect for a few hours?

I’ll tell you why.

The other day I went to Lee Ann Womack’s concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Let me give you a couple fun facts about her and the people that attended her concert.

  1. She was born in 1966 in Jacksonville, Texas.
  2. Her biggest success was I Hope you Dance in 2000.
  3. She is about 50 years old.
  4. I went with my grandfather and his brother.
  5. I was the youngest person in the whole arena.

The show had started right on time at 8pm, as the lights dimmed and the stage lit up. Womack walked on stage and the crowd cheered her on. My gaze was of course on the star herself. I wanted to be respectful to my grandfather and Womack, so I put my promised myself I would not check my phone during the time she performed.

I was relaxed. I felt like as though, if I closed my eyes, I was outside at a summer concert listening to the easy going open mic that would be playing on the green.

My grandfather and his brother were on one side of me and there was an older couple that sat on the other. The man would tap his hand and foot to the beat of the drums, while the woman sat there nervously shaking her leg up and down. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an iPhone screen light up and the time read 8:23pm. In the moment, I thought she was checking the time. Little did I know, she pulled out her phone to play on it. Her husband, laughed, shook his head and begged her to shut it off.

I was shocked myself. I took my gaze off from the stage and my eyes scanned the crowd. There was about 4 people in a close vicinity, including the woman next to me, who were hovering over on their phones. She was busy doing a puzzle that lasted her 30 minutes to finish, one was scrolling through Instagram, and another seemed to be texting. They were not the only ones on their devices. Many were watching and recording her through a tiny screen as it was happening right in front of them.

Are you really watching a concert? Is it really live in front of you? Is there really nothing in your life that cannot wait an hour after her show to check your phone again?

This woman probably is not a fan, but came to the concert because her husband loved her music. But, neither was I. I had no idea who she was until the rhythm of I Hope You Dance started playing and I made the connection that her voice match up to this song, AND IT WAS HER SONG.

The message is clear: get off your damn phone and enjoy life’s moments. The message is clearer: in this day in age, we are too glued and addicted to our phones, we make our feed our number one priority and tune out what is going on around us.

We spend so much time on that tiny little screen, we forget how to interact in social settings like these. We feel like we are constantly shut out of everything if we are not consuming large chunks of our feed at once. We feel the need to press the refresh button even after we have checked over each site twice, and we feel twitchy if we have not done it for a while.

Image courtesy of BetterHumans

Of course everyone wants to see what their friends are posting on Instagram, who is talking to who on Facebook, or what their crush is up to on Snapchat. We want to stay up to date with what everyone is doing by being baited into a clicking frenzy. Not only that, WE DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! We want people to know what we are up to, to get as many viewers, likes, and retweets.

And it is not just my generation, as we all think it would be. It happens to everyone as technology and social media is changing the way we interact and become mindless of what is going on around us. This makes us all come to the same conclusion that, “Well, maybe if they’re doing it, it’s okay if I do it?” It has gotten so bad, people have gone to therapy. It has been compared to drugs because we have been so addicted to keep wanting more.

Image courtsey of Unsplash

It is time to recharge our brains and ourselves as often as we do our phones. In a sense, social media is like smoking. We crave it, sometimes feeling unfilled when we put it down. We always want more. We come back to feel that physical connection as we force ourselves to try and connect through a screen monitor. Today, we connect solely through our smartphones. If we are not on social media, we miss out and we hate missing out.

Time to listen and give up already. Delete the apps so they become less readily available and less temptation to check in. If you run a business, set specific times of the day to log on and off social media. Let others know the best way to get in touch with you as you are making the transition to cut yourself off from social media.

It’s time to be mindful. Feed your mind with what is going on around you, not what the mind sees on your feed. Refocus your attention to avoid fomo and what makes you happy. Do not stop what you are doing to capture what you are doing.

But here I am even, wrote this paper, and posted it for you to read. You should not be surprised because you read this far. Oh, the irony.

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