When the World is Upside-Down
If you are anything like me, you spend time on social media. I care deeply for people and have joined numerous groups that evoke strong feelings. From adult survivors of child sexual abuse to human trafficking survivors to those concerned with abortion and euthanasia, there are so many hardships to pray about.
Then, there is a the normal, everyday stuff that people endure, like car accidents or death of family members. Of course, the drama is interspersed with elation over a marriage/wedding or new job. Maybe someone’s vacation photos are next and a cute puppy or a funny cat video. It can be a rollercoaster of emotion.
It makes my head spin. Every once in a while I have to shut it down and take a social media break. Endless short stories have a way of impacting the way I think, making it difficult to think deeply and stay focused on any one thing.
Has that happened to you?
If so, keep reading. We can manage the way we think. I believe we have to. Science and the Bible tell us that if we don’t manage our feelings they will manage us. The chaos that is social media is not conducive to sound thinking. It is more a kin to up-side-down thinking. Jarring our emotions in a stream of highs and lows, anger and apathy when we light up our midbrain where our emotions reside, but not our prefrontal cortex, where critical thought and executive reasoning takes place.
Here are some ways to stay sharp.
Read an actual long copy book.
Reading and staying with a book keeps your brain settled in thought that may be emotional, but doesn’t jerk your emotions around the way social media does. Following a story with sequence and natural consequences is directed thinking. Engaging in a longer read is more like life. Even though we have other tasks to focus on, the story is still there, ready to play out, when we come back to pay attention.
Keep a journal.
Similar to reading, our directed focus may be emotional, but without the flashing advertisements and pop-ups that inevitably interrupt thought online. Journaling will help to keep us grounded. Life should never be stagnant. A journal can be your safe place to keep track of progress with an issue you struggle with, like anger or spending habits. Injecting Scripture or other wisdom quotes can encourage us when we are in need and adding statements of gratitude each day can boost our perspective.
Go for a walk or more vigorous exercise.
Depending on my health status, a walk is usually enough, but I occasionally dance or use isometric movements. Let’s face it, if we spend time on social media, we are most likely sitting still. Our brains need circulation. Our whole bodies need the refreshing burst of oxygen and cleansing that only activity can accomplish. Simply moving for the sake of moving and paying attention to how we feel can be revealing. Yoga-type stretching can be done in a chair, on the floor, or standing. Being mindful about how our bodies respond can give us hints to take better care of them. Are you stiff and achy? Maybe back off of the inflammatory foods. Are you getting cramps from a brisk walk? Maybe increase your fluid intake. We only get one body. Let’s keep it well.
Consider adding supplements to your healthy diet.
Eating a clean diet is important, but I just don’t think our food supply has what it takes to keep us well anymore. From pesticides and herbicides to farming techniques that deplete the nutrients from the soil, our modern food isn’t the best. Eating processed foods and prepackaged food-like substances is actually bad for us. Whole fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats and organics when possible is a good start, but also is expensive. Doing a bit of research, I found a world of supplements specifically designed to improve memory and cognition. It was well worth the risk for me. For about a dollar a day, I got my brain back. Lyme Disease had all but stolen my ability to function normally. It took about eight weeks to see dramatic results.
Talk to real people in real time.
No matter your health status, having a conversation can be taxing or invigorating. Even if it is work, we need interaction. We see cognition decline in people who are isolated, whether by hearing and vision deficits or lack of intimate contact. Elderly are especially vulnerable to symptoms of slowing mental capacity. Human contact is part of our divine design. If you have trust issues from the abuses you’ve suffered, keep it casual, but keep talking. Maybe find a meet up around a subject you’re interested in.
Stay sharp, my friends and don’t let the constant tumbling of social media dull your mind.