Have you noticed that a lot of social media links have the estimated time that the post will take to read written at the top before you commit to opening it? Two minute and three minute reads seem to be the go. What if someone was to write a twenty minute read? Would anyone click the link and read the content?
Have we become so information overloaded and in need of instant gratification that our hyped up addled brains can only cope with short posts? I’m afraid that seems to be the case.
We are so plugged in, switched on, and in constant contact that the idea of sitting down to read anything of any particular length is simply too daunting. Let me ask you, how many things have you saved to come back to read later, how many Facebook links do you have saved to come back to right now?
Do you instantly respond to every beep, ping and pong that your devices send? It’s very tempting and for good reason. Whenever we receive a notification, our brains get a hit of dopamine, one of the most powerful feel good hormones. At our core, we are all really dopamine junkies and we seek it in ways that we are conscious and unconscious of. Dopamine release activities are a really great way to maintain good mental health, however this way of getting dopamine is addictive and it’s affecting our relationships, sleep, health and ability to concentrate for any length of time.
How long since you last read a book? A paper book with pages, ink and no backlighting? I got caught up in the vortex of not reading at my usual levels for a while, for the first time in my entire life. I was seduced by the shiny brightness of instant online gratification with short punchy posts and the information news stream that my brain became addicted to.
A couple of months back, hubby and I finally decided to put a stop to it, and we now have a new/old bedtime routine. We were already putting our phones onto airplane mode to sleep, and we keep them in our room, though far from our heads, as they are also our alarms, so we had that sorted. However our iPads and laptop had become tempting seductresses when it came to our bedtime reading. We now come to bed with a cuppa, nothing new here, however we both plan the following day on paper. Yes paper and pen and it is good! I have electronic planners, calendars and the like, but I do like an old fashioned to do list. I brain dump everything I need to do the following day and ensure it’s captured on the lovely list.
I then put it to one side as my mind is clear and confident in the knowledge that I don’t need to remember or think about anything when it’s time to sleep. I then take whatever book I’m reading and dive in until I drift off into blissful slumber. It’s so wonderful to be doing this again. I did it every single night of my life from about the age of 5 until a couple of years ago and I realise now just how much I’ve missed it. I am back to devouring my beautiful books and loving it!
So, I’m off now to make a cuppa, plan tomorrow and finish my latest book. Give it a try; switch off, leave your devices in the other room, and dive into a great read. A whole other wonderful world awaits you.