Keep Your Brain Healthy, Start Your Day Without the Internet!
- Immediately before falling asleep and immediately after waking, our brains are incredibly open to learning, feeling, and growth.
- If we start and end our days on the internet, we’re rewiring our brains in a damaging way.
- Better and healthier options include reading, meditating, exercising, and deep work.
One hundred years ago, the famous inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison, would, at the end of the day, fall asleep in a big easy chair. On either side of the chair were two steel plates, placed on the floor. In each hand, Edison would hold a steel ball, letting his arms relax to the sides as he fell asleep. Of course, once he fell asleep, he’d lose his grip on the balls, they’d fall to the floor with a clang, and he’d wake up.
Why did he do this?
Well, before science identified it as such, Edison was aware of the brain’s theta state. The theta state occurs just prior to falling asleep and just before waking up, and it’s a state where the brain is capable of deep, profound learning, feeling, and growth. Edison took advantage of this by having paper and pencil at the ready to record any thoughts he had just as he had entered this state.
Related to this is an article by Srinivas Rao, called “Starting Your Day on the Internet is Damaging Your Brain.” You may realize, instinctually, that waking up and immediately looking at your smart device to check out Facebook, scroll through Instagram, send a text, and read email isn’t good for you. Rao equates this to starting your brain on junk food for the day and points out that, by making this our daily habit, we’re training our brains to be distracted.
We’re quite literally changing how our brains work – rewiring them in a very bad way, to function in a frenetic, haphazard manner. Our smart devices become addictions, leading to a host of physical, emotional, and social problems.
If the internet is junk food for the brain, then health food would be reading, meditation, exercise, journaling, and deep work. (If you’re unfamiliar with deep work, Cal Newport’s 2016 book, Deep Work, is an outstanding read on the subject. He discusses the theta state and wiring your brain the way you want it to be wired.) Make a conscious effort to start and end your day with these non-Internet options, and break that smart device habit. You’ll find yourself being more productive, more focused, and happier in doing so. Until next time, enjoy.
Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business Battlefield. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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