Have you ever had too many tabs open on your computer? Your computer starts to act weird, right? It moves slower, it doesn’t respond and then you have to shut it down, let it restart and miraculously, it starts working again. Sometimes I feel like my brain is that computer, with so many tabs open that it just stops working right. And I need to shut it down so that it can restart. Maybe you feel like that sometimes too.
We live in a loud world, don’t we? All those tabs on the computer are voices coming at us from EVERYWHERE. TV, radio, social media, OUR OWN CHILDREN. They are constant, never ending and they fill our heads with so much noise , that there is not room for our own voice or our own thoughts.
And these voices aren’t just loud, they’re bad for us. They keep us from focusing, tell us we’re not good enough and give us a skewed perspective on reality.
How many times have you seen pictures on Facebook of a family on vacation and thought ‘Their family is so perfect. I wish we had the money to take a trip like that”? Guess what. They probably charged that vacation on an almost maxed out credit card. The husband and wife most likely fought the whole time and the whole trip was awful. YOU DON’T KNOW. But your brain tells you that they are perfect and their family is perfect and it makes you feel like yours isn’t.
We all do it. And it’s just become normal. But here’s the thing. It’s not normal. And it’s not good for us.
According to Social Media Today, the average person spends 2 hours a day on social media, which totals 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime. Isn’t that crazy?! They say that people spend more time on social media than they do eating, drinking and grooming. They go on to say that in that same amount of time, you could run more than 10,000 marathons, walk the Great Wall of China 3 ½ times and climb Mount Everest 32 times. WHAT?!
And if you’re a parent of a teen, I have bad news. They’re way worse. It’s estimated that teens spend NINE hours a day on social platforms. NINE! How do they have that much time? I’m thinking they need a job if they have 9 extra hours in their day, not to mention the danger that some of these social media platforms can pose.
But wait, I’m not done. It’s not just social media that’s loud. According to Time Magazine, the average person spends an hour and 33 minutes watching Netflix and Business Insider says we spend 4 and ½ hours a day watching tv! So between social media, Netflix and TV, that’s a total of 8 hours a day of noise coming into your head. That’s a full time job, you guys. And I didn’t even mention the radio that’s on every time we get in the car. No wonder our brains feel scrambled and we can’t think.
So what do we learn from this? We learn that we are spending too many hours a day letting outside voices into our heads.
Here’s what we need to start doing. We need to shut it down.
Turn off the radio when you’re in the car.
Shut the tv off.
Put your phone down.
Turn your phone to vibrate. You have my permission to hit do not disturb on that group text that will not stop.
Side note: group texts are a tool of the devil. They will drive you straight over the edge if you let them. Who has that much to say? Why do people send 3 separate texts for 1 thought? Do they want me to throw my phone across the room? Shut it down, girls. Shut. It. Down.
Do these tips sound easier said than done? All these voices have become such a normal part of life that we think we NEED them. But it’s not a normal part of life.
- It’s not normal to be able top open your phone and know what everyone single one of your friends is doing at any given time.
- It’s not normal to have 24 hours news bringing the worst of the day into our home.
- It’s not normal to see photoshopped pictures of women’s bodies on Instagram and think they are real.
Sometimes I feel like my phone OWNS me. If I’m not on Facebook, I might mess out on something happening at my kid’s school. If I don’t binge watch the latest Netflix craze, how will I have anything to talk about at work? If I don’t watch the news, how do I stay informed? I’m not saying never tune in to these things. I’m saying don’t tune in all the live long day.
So how do we do that?
First, let me say that I am speaking to myself here. My phone is glued to my hand. It’s a terrible habit that I’m working to break and now that I’m telling the world, you have permission to call me out on it.
Now that that confessional is out of the way, I’m going to suggest that you check social media 3 times a day. You thought I was going to say once right? I mean, I’m not animal. If I say check it once, you’re gonna say’ hell to the no’ and move on. So check it in the morning, at lunch and at night. AND THAT’S IT. And when I say check it, that doesn’t mean scroll for an hour. Just read the latest and then put it down.
A lot of people like to have noise in the background when they’re cooking dinner or cleaning. As a society, we are not used to quiet. So I’m going to suggest that you keep your TV off unless you’re watching a show with your spouse or family. Stop turning it on the second you walk in the door and only watch TV intentionally. Watching a show together can be fun for the family. Listening to it in the background for 6 hours can drive you crazy.
Change your routine
When you wake up, don’t reach for your phone. If the first thing we fill our head with is the latest natural disaster or mass shooting or that frenemy who just got a promotion, we’re gonna want to crawl back under the covers. So chose to fill your head with something positive. For me, this is when I read my bible and have my quiet time. For you, it could be time to mediate or do some positive affirmations. Just have the first 10 – 15 minutes of your day start quietly, with positive voices filling your head.
Break the habit
Pay attention to how much you pick up your phone in a day. In fact, I’m going to challenge you tomorrow to count the number of times you pick your phone up (oooohhhh….I’m meddling aren’t I?) Sorry, sister, but I’m in it with you!). It’s not a judgement, truly, it’s just that it’s become a HABIT. So let’s break it and stop being glued to our phones.
This world is loud, but it’s only as loud as you let it be. So let’s be intentional, let’s set some boundaries, let’s quiet our minds and our lives a little bit. And if we do that, I think we’ll find that we can hear our own voice again.
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