I’m scrolling through my iPhone’s battery usage, my screen time is up to an average of 6h 32m. Before quarantine I probably sat around 2h of screen time- it’s a big jump. Granted most of those hours are thanks to a digital library application; the fact still remains that things have definitely become blurred. The digital world is quickly overwhelming the real world. I know you can relate.
One study says that during this past March alone, we are at a significant incline for at-home data usage compared to last year.
“Compared to the same time in March 2019 the daily average in-home data usage has increased by 38 percent [...] The increase can be observed across almost all device categories… -” www.statista.com
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook: have all become boomboxes for the Covid-19 pandemic. All once places great for escapism, now are news channels in their own right. I even get notifications on Spotify. I don’t have to actively seek out the news anymore.
So you may be asking, where’s a girl supposed to go to get mindlessly lost and forget the stress, if not social media? How about the app: Insight Timer.
It’s notoriously hard to find a free meditation app. Insight Timer, an Oprah Magazine tutted application, could be your free introduction to the world of mediation. A world that could reap you countless physical and mental health benefits.
The meditation app, boosts a ‘Free Library’ with 40,000 different guided meditations to choose from. They have a beta project in the works so you can fine tune to either secular, scientific, or spiritual guided videos. The diversification is nice and appreciated. It’s the kind of application you'd tap when you're feeling grief or simply just overwhelmed.
Meditation isn’t something everyone jumps at the chance to do; but it should be. The benefits are endless and almost immediate. Digital applications have come a long way in making an ancient healing practice so readily available.
... we’ve demonstrated for the first time that a short, systematic smartphone mindfulness program helps to reduce the impact of stress on the body. -Emily Lindsay, the University of Pittsburgh for Fast Company
Keep in mind, that less stress means a healthier immune system. You’re going to need one of those in the weeks to come with the pandemic peaking around the country. But if you’re snug at home there’s some bonus benefits beyond the immune system. The University of California, San Francisco, published this in the journal, Nature:
[...] giving one a mediation app and the other[groups] foreign language, tai chi, or a logic game app[…]After six weeks, participants were given memory tests. Participants who’d used the meditation app scored higher on tests of working memory. Researchers also used an EEG and found evidence of changes in brain functions that supported memory improvement. - nature
Yes, mediation apps have the potential to actually work. See more on how below.
Think of downloading a meditation application, as an opportunity to do some good for your brain as well as your immune system. Covid-19, fear mongering, and media overload is a very real situation. A situation that could come with some possible unanticipated end results:
Take one post-9/11 study, for example. Researchers found that Americans who spent a few hours a day watching TV coverage of the attacks were more likely to show post traumatic stress symptoms than those who watched less. They also had a greater risk of developing new physical health conditions two to three years later.- Medicinenet.com
Your future behavioral responses will be shaped by this experience, but it doesn't have to be all bad. Covid-19 could be the reason you launch your business in 2023. The pandemic could have given you the perfect perspective to do everything on your bucket list. The isolation could put into perspective the time you spend with your family. All of these possibilities make apparent that we have to divert our attentions away from fear mongering and onto healing.
And so, while it might be that it's your friends spreading the news and not just CNN, it's still exposure.
You have to contemplate the fact that you may be getting too much media exposure just by being on social media. Even though it’s not your intention to stress your body by going onto social platforms, it will impact you in the future. It's impacting you right now.
It’s important to stay aware of the CDC and WHO health guidelines. We’re not questioning that- but it’s equally important to take a pause from too much information.
If we can't turn to social media with the endless amounts of time on our hands, where should we? How about one of these mindful applications: Smiling Mind (free), Betterhelp ($40/week counseling), or Headspace ($13/month, 7-days free). Or you can just put the phone down and pick a book up instead for a couple hours a day.
Our answer is almost* certainly: it could be pivotal in making you feel better. But it also means if you want to bunt the long term effects of media overload, you’ll need to turn off those notifications. Tap on the ‘do not disturb’, and commit to following a daily practice. Much like you would do for a traditional practice.
Of my 6h and 32m of screen time: do you think it would take that much more effort to spend 10 minutes of it mediating? Do you think you could manage 10 minutes of a guided meditation?
Mediating in small doses is healing, a little at a time. It’s also being proactive: learning how to cope with stressful environments. Don't just tuck your head down and wait for the environment to change. Learn some life skills.
“Meditation is often thrown out the door and disregarded because people question how sitting and not burning calories can help them lose weight. But our body is a mirror reflection of what’s going on in our minds.”
We know you have goals. Daily stress on your body isn't going to help you reach your summer body goals. So we'll be here to support you in achieving them every week.
-BCRX Content Writer, Klarrisa Arafa