When Too Much Media is Messing With Your Head (Reduce, Delete, Withdraw, Repeat)

I’ve talked before about deleting and reducing the attention we give to social media, but it can actually go way beyond that in several ways. One is how we can expand our definition of digital media, and two, how it can affect our mental well-being.

As reducing our digital footprint and use includes deleting apps and social media accounts, we can also look at other aspects of our lives where it has crept in disguised as normal modern behavior. In other words, we see many things now as changing with the times, and evolving with technology.

Some examples include getting news from social media or YouTube, reading books on e-readers or on our phones, and messaging replacing talking.

The other aspect is a bit trickier. We can delete and reduce the obvious digital time-wasters, but the effects digital media has on our brains and well-being is a tougher nut to crack.

I’ve recently become (or attempted to become) more aware of what the heck’s been going on in my own head.

Reduce

I’ve already reduced my use of social media almost to nothing. At the very most I’ll check Facebook once a week for any messages only on my laptop. I’ll do the same with LinkedIn. But to be honest, as I move along it just seems more and more useless.

Just because social media is in your face, doesn’t mean it’s important.

I’ve also decided to stop “collecting” ebooks. What I mean is that I would pile up a list of books I “thought” I needed in my Amazon account wishlist and then watch out for those titles to be severely reduced in price (usually around $1.99) and buy them up. Over time my purchased library would start to populate with a ton of books I would never read.

Now, I’ve taken on the mentality of how I treated books when I was younger. I’ve turned to physical books only. I find I have more respect, find greater value, and can enact more focus with an actual book. It also forces me to make more calculated decisions on what I read.

Delete

On the neverending deletion front, I’ve continued to keep a close eye on what I’m reading, watching, and listening to. Email newsletters, podcasts, and YouTube fit in this category.

I’ve also turned a corner on books as I’ve said above. No more pop psychology books that could easily be summarized in a post or article. They all say similar things and can be covered with a quick podcast about the author’s marketing tour for whatever new book they’re promoting. I may be looking for more fiction in the future.

I’ve been deleting YouTube channels, newsletters, and any other fast food junk media that’s crept into my life.

Withdraw

Since technology has reared its head into nearly every aspect of our lives, I’m taking a hard stance on new technology’s use in my life. Is it a distraction? Will it require a time commitment? Will it improve my life?

Being more awake in the physical world without a phone or tablet sewn into my hand will ensure that my mind can operate in a more natural way. A way it was meant to function.

I also want to get back into art, bring back my creativity, and keep my mind away from the frantic, always hectic tech world we’ve created.

We never get to take a break. We never allow ourselves to be bored, We never take those long, deep breaths. Since we have a little box in our pocket at all times, we never have a moment that is actually ours.

We willfully give our attention to our tech and then complain we have no time for ourselves.

Stay aware, be present, and stop FOMO.

Repeat

This is an ongoing process. Stephen Covey calls this Sharpening the Saw in his famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Yes, I have a physical copy of that book – before ebooks were ever a thing.

There’s freedom in this awareness. Others will look at you in a weird way. You may be seen as a Luddite or a technophobe. But my plan is to make deliberate and rational decisions, take back my time, and be a human.

Something that was once seen as normal is now abnormal.

It’s sad that eating junk food is so common that eating healthy is labeled as dieting. And it’s sad that somebody who exercises daily is labeled as obsessed. Somebody who moves their body regularly and doesn’t eat processed s#!* all day should be the rule, not the exception.

Jonathan Goodman

Many of our tech habits, platform use, and overall lifestyle are filled with this junk food. We need to treat ourselves better. We need some friction, delayed gratification, and quiet, uninterrupted swaths of time in our day to return to being human.

4 thoughts on “When Too Much Media is Messing With Your Head (Reduce, Delete, Withdraw, Repeat)

  1. I’ve been feeling this lately. Too much information coming in, no steam vent. What’s resulted is me just feeling stuck and constantly foggy-brained. I’ve since turned off all notifications on my phone, and try to limit social media use to maybe twice a day. But what’s most important to me is replacing.

    So now that I have a gap from all that abstinence, I need to have a ton of activities on standby, so reading and drawing have been great, and so is streamlining my journalling process to capture more of the day but in a simpler form. Anyway, thanks for this post, Brad!

    Liked by 1 person

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