A Simple Guide to Slow Down Life and Regain Control Over Yourself!
The time of COVID was arguably the best years of my life. A time that changed me beyond recognition. I became much more effective in what I do and started so much of new initiatives along the way. Among many other things, I used to write a blog every week for over a year. Some made it to medium and others did not. Yet I kept on writing. At first, it was very difficult to write 600 words in one sitting. However, with time, a blog per week was peanuts. Then for some reason, I lost the streak. I entirely missed out on this and many other awesome habits I used to have that made me highly effective by my standards.
In a time of self-reflection, I wanted to know why that happened. Therefore, I started digging into things that made me distracted. I wanted to know why my mind is not focused anymore to spend time effectively as I used to be. I was curious to see why the world is moving so fast around me. After going through a couple of Ted talks and articles, I think I know what happened. Moreover, I believe I know how to get back to my rhythm again.
Our Lives are Full of Distractions
This of cause is a no-brainer. We all know that our lives have distractions. When the pandemic took some distractions out, we created more. People who used to party all night now started to spend that time on TikTok. Life changed but the flow of distractions never stopped. Now that we are back to normal, we got the new distractions we found, plus the old ones to go back to. Of cause it’s hard.
However, is it actually the distractions that make us less attentive? To put it in other terms, is every distraction a bad distraction?
It is not the Distraction, it’s The Stimulation.
We all do this rookie mistake. The moment we struggle to focus ourselves on something, we blame it on all the distractions. Then we try to cram ourselves into one place and force our brains to work without distractions. It is like giving a toddler a piece of chalk and requesting it not to draw anything anywhere using that.
Sometimes we need distractions. Whenever I write and I hit a wall. I take a small walk around the house to distract myself from the content. This helps me to re-organize my thoughts and start writing again. How can that distraction be a bad distraction?
On the other hand, while I was writing this, I got a call from a friend. It lasted 30 seconds. But from that call, I went to check on my messages on WhatsApp. There I saw a link to a Facebook post that made me scroll on Facebook for another five minutes. This is when I saw a link to a nice video on YouTube about how to lose my belly fat. You see what happened there? Starting from that call, I kept on following a trail of stimulations on my phone. I lost track of time because it was so entertaining and stimulating.
What Stimulations Does to Your Mind?
If you are a regular follower of my blogs, you would know that I love to draw out connections from human evolution. As we know, even though we live in the 27th century, our physiology is almost the same as how it used to a 5000 years ago. Our brains crave stimulation for most primitive reasons. Such stimulations have helped us survive in the past. Therefore, the brain rewards us with happy hormones like dopamine whenever we face a stimulation.
However, we are not equipped to handle such stimulations every minute for the entire wake time. Yet, that is exactly what we do! Stimulations are called “stimulations” because it supposed to happen occasionally. With us being exposed to such stimulations all the time, we are in a constant state of high. The moment we stop the supply of stimulation to work on something important, we get withdrawal symptoms.
It is important to understand the difference between distractions that support you think and a distraction that keeps stimulating you to stay away from what is important.
So What Can We Do About It?
Once you understand what keeps you high all the time with stimulations, just like any other addiction the only way to get out of it is by restricting access. I know, it is easier said than done. None of us can afford to get rid of our smartphones or any other electronic device for that matter. So take baby steps. Gradually cut off over-consumption. A couple of such steps that I took that actually worked are as follows.
- Dedicated hours of detox — Just dedicate some time in your calendar every day to consciously break away from all the distractions that induce stimulation.
- Give yourself a quota of time per day — There are a bunch of apps that can help you with this.
- Do boring work — Just to train your brain, just try out some boring activities like watching the clock, and reading the privacy agreement of an app.
- Replace distractions that cause stimulations with non-stimulating distractions such as taking a walk, or reading a book.
- Meditate — of cause!
These are just a few I can vouch to have effective outcomes. Please take a moment to share your tips and tricks in the comment section.
Once you start practicing these for about a week, you will notice that the world is slowing down. The overwhelming feeling of everything moving so fast fades away. Eventually, you will understand that it is not the world that demands you to be hyperactive, you do it to yourself.
A slower phase in life does not mean a slower growth rate. You will get to where you want either way. When the distractions are less, you will be able to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.