Mental Health Break

28 May

I’m an information junkie. I get twitchy if I’m not plugged into at least one device at a time. Currently, I have music running, fifteen open tabs on my browser, a half-watched movie on pause (the first Robert Downey Jr Sherlock, fyi), and three half-read books waiting for me on calibre. When the internet goes down I panic. When my laptop runs out of juice, it’s the end of my world. Last summer I suffered the worst torment imaginable when I arrived home from college to find that the house had no internet access and all the books had been boxed up. I was irritable the entire two weeks before my precious internet access was restored.

This information addiction isn’t all that strange. Our brains have been wired to find information rewarding. When you learn something new, dopamine neurons are released, so novelty-seeking is a pleasurable activity for your brain.* Of course, this ADD approach to information isn’t without downsides: the dopamine system doesn’t have satiety built in, so you can end up refreshing that page over and over, with less positive results as time goes on. Puts checking your Facebook and email ten times a day in perspective, doesn’t it?

Today, when trawling through tumblr, I came across the quiet place. It’s a 90 second relaxation exercise. Even jumped up on caffeine, I found it to be clever, cute, and very, very useful. So next time you find yourself stressing and the calming manatee isn’t enough, head on over there for some soothing music and deep breaths.

*Science parts have been stolen from here and here. Yes, I realize the irony about having a bunch of links at the end of a post on stopping and just taking a break for a minute.

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