For many of us, the day begins with a bleary-eyed scroll through emails and social media on our smartphones. As we check Facebook and Instagram, we get distracted by ads, notifications and pop-up videos. Much of this is like junk food for the brain, and just like junk food for your body, it’s not a recipe for success.
The creators of apps such as Snapchat and Facebook designed them to be addictive. They intrude into our day while we work, drive, watch TV and spend time with our families. The more we use our cellphones and social media, the more our brains become distracted by junk. Researchers at the University of Texas have shown that our cognitive abilities are seriously reduced when our phones are in reach, even if they’re not on.
While we’ve seen the value of having technology at our fingertips during a global pandemic, we’ve also seen the negative effects technology has had on the way we process information. As we’ve become used to reading condensed news snippets online, it becomes harder to read long articles or books in print. The irony of delivering this online article via email is not lost on Sharp Again—but this is the way information is shared today. In this environment we need to take control of how we spend our downtime, and how we nourish our brain health.
So instead of starting your day with your smartphone, what would a healthy morning for your brain look like? Srinivas Rao, founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast, recommends a device-free morning, filled with meditation, journaling and an interruption-free hour of deep work. If we feed our brains with a healthier lifestyle, both our body and mind will benefit.