“Monkey Brain” is a common name for the part of our primal brain that is always alert, searching for anything novel. If “Monkey Brain” thinks it’s in danger, it will ping our adrenal system – the one that does fight, flight, or freeze and releases stress hormones. “Monkey” jumps all over the place, assessing what to do, whether to worry, questioning ourselves, etc. Monkey keeps us up in the middle of the night and obsesses on problems.
Notifications are specifically designed to hold our attention and get that monkey brain curious. Notifications shout to Monkey, “Over here!” “Is everything okay?” “Oooo, eye candy-take a look!” “Who liked my post? – Am I’m important????” Alerts are precisely why social media, gaming, YouTube, Instagram, and the king – Snap Chat, are addicting. “Monkey Brain” is fully stimulated and therefore being richly fed.
People expect us to reach us. Some get cranky if don’t follow their stuff or respond to their emails quickly. Some are hurt when their posts are unread. Replying tells their “Monkey Brain” that they are socially important. Replying fast tells “Monkey” you are safely in their tribe.
The stressful always “on” state might be our #1 major health problem in the US. Plus, it’s the stressed who are creating a wold of tension. Who are the moody ones? Who are causing political upheaval? We see the changing moods and opinions of our President who is tied to his phone and media. He’s cranky, inconsistent, and doesn’t rest. We are microcosms of these tendencies.
It’s harsh, but calming down requires detaching from e-anything.
Some tips to reduce tech stress:
- Turn off notifications! Brains relax when they don’t expecting the pings.
- Let your friends know that you are sometimes unavailable, being productive and reaping the benefits.
- An hour before bed, turn off the tech and allow your brain to rest with prayer, meditation, a book, etc.
- Choose what you want to allow into your life. Angst breeds angst. Delete that FB page, or whatever doesn’t add to the quality of your life.
- Learn to be quiet and alone. 10 wonderful things happen when we get used to being alone.
- Can’t sleep? Mind Insight or HeadSpace apps are helpful if you can resist the urge to turn on stimulating apps.