Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (i.e. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (i.e. a bell).
It refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral response comes to elicit a response (i.e. salivation) that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus.
Basically training the brain to respond to the bell because it means that food is coming.
Pavlov paired food with a bell, we seem to pair our digital devices with human connection.
The eye opener for me came one Sunday morning when I got my weekly screen time update on my Iphone. An average of 7 hours per day.
7 freakin’ hours!! 4 of those hours were spent on social media!!
Now that includes texts, email, apps and social media. I have my own business so I am on the phone a lot because of that.
But there is no reason to be spending almost 4 hours a day on social media and that is where I was at.
HUGE wake up call.
The average adult checks their phone 150 times per day.
As I checked in with myself about it, I recognized that I was mindlessly scrolling more often than not.
Mindlessly scrolling and subconsciously comparing and judging.
It is my intention every day not to judge others, but I was literally wasting 4 hours of every day scrolling through the highlight reels of friends and strangers.
I love social media because it helps me stay connected to people from my childhood and my friends that live all over the world.
But I realized that at least 50% of the connections that I have are literally strangers to me.
I only know them based on the persona that they strategically place in their feed.
This leads to a false sense of connection.
As human beings, we are inherently driven towards connection.
Social media leads us to believe that we are connected, that we have so many friends and that so many people “like” us.
But it’s not real.
I have plenty of real connection in my life, but how were those connections being nurtured if I was spending 4 hours a day scrolling through my phone?!
Something had to change.
So I decided on a two week social media detox.
At first, I was going to delete all of the social media apps off my phone, but I realized that may be a little extreme since staying connected on my business page is important to me.
So I instilled limits: 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening ONLY.
Easy peasy right??
Those little red notifications are hard to ignore! Every time I picked up my phone to make a call or to send an email I was horribly tempted to click on my social media apps.
These apps are designed specifically to trigger the pleasure center in our brains!
That red color was chosen for a reason. The “likes” we receive cause a chemical change in our brains.
We get a burst of dopamine every time just like an addict does when they are engaged in addictive behavior.
After the first two days, the struggle became much less intense.
By day four I wasn’t even spending my allotted 15 minutes on my social media. I really began to lose interest.
Here are some things that I noticed during my two week hiatus:
Increased focus: I was so much more focused on the task at hand. When I removed the constant need to stay “connected” on social media, my time was put to use working on projects that I had not completed. And guess what?? No one missed me and I didn’t miss anyone either. Lesson: We are not as important in cyberspace as they want us to believe. Its trickery!
I enjoyed every meal: When you are having a meal and you’re fully present while eating it, the experience is amazing. So many of us are scrolling through our phones while we eat and before you realize it, the meal is over and you don’t even really remember if you tasted a single bite of the food you chowed down! Can you relate??
Better listening skills: I used to pride myself on being able to listen to someone as I was reading or sending an email, etc. That is NOT something to be proud of. There is no prize for multi-tasking! Being fully present and engaged in the moment is the winner here.
Calmer disposition: I meditate twice a day ,every day, because I’m wound pretty tight by nature. I’m a self proclaimed type A person and I am trying very hard to slow down. I had no idea how much calmer I would feel without the incessant and unnecessary chatter that comes from social media. We don’t even realize that as we scroll our brain is forming thousands of unconscious thoughts about everything we see. I don’t know about you, but I have enough chatter just from day to day life. I most definitely felt calmer overall and I didn’t have to work as hard for my parasympathetic nervous system to kick in.
I highly recommend a social media detox.
Or at least to mindfully assess your current daily screen time.
The stories we create subconsciously while scrolling social media, or even while watching television, really have an impact on us.
I don’t see any potentially negative consequence from taking a social media break…
Try it. Email me and tell me how it was for you.