For many years now I found myself to be seriously addicted to consuming internet content. It was basically a loop consisting of checking my mail, scrolling through facebook, twitter, reddit and youtube. I just kept on going on with this loop for hours on end. And the worst thing is that I was telling myself that I was actually being productive. I was telling myself that I was learning. And to be honest, I just love consuming a lot of facts about different subjects… Ever get that feeling where you suddenly want to research mountaineering for a few hours without any intent on actually doing it in real life? Well if that’s the case, this post might be for you.
Why is this happening?
Short answer: I don’t know.
But really though, I do have a few theories on why this is happening to me (and most likely many other people out there). I think it has to do with an addiction to stimulus. The internet is stimulating our minds in a whole new level compared to before. I think we are becoming addicted to this level of stimulus. So when we don’t have anything to do we basically by pure reflex grab the closest device with internet access and start consuming.
What can we do about it?
I don’t know!
I have actually improved my situation by a lot through teaching my mind how to be still, also known as meditation. I’m not going to list all the benefits of meditation here because trust me, the list is long. But one of the benefits is that you become more conscious of the present moment. This means that you will not be 100% consumed by your mind and your thoughts. Instead, there will be an awareness inside you (there already is, but you might not be aware of it, no pun intended). This awareness will help you, because I found that surfing the web is a highly unconscious activity.
Meditation decreases the needs for stimulus. It’s not easy to sit there trying to be still and observing your thoughts when you are not used to it. It’s super frustrating. For me it was also very uncomfortable in the beginning, and can still be sometimes. But through being uncomfortable, we grow. And I can happily say that I’m way more productive because I’m doing 20 minutes of meditation every day.
So I encourage you to go out there in real life or on the internet, find a great teacher who can teach you the basics of meditation. It’s one of the most simple things you can do, but yet it is one of the hardest.