Get Real With The English Sisters - Mind Health Anxiety

Rediscovering Balance in an Age of Instant Gratification

February 28, 2024 The English Sisters - Violeta & Jutka Zuggo Episode 107
Get Real With The English Sisters - Mind Health Anxiety
Rediscovering Balance in an Age of Instant Gratification
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever find yourself mindlessly reaching for your phone only to realize you've lost track of time scrolling through an endless sea of apps? This peculiar behavior is exactly what we're unpacking in our latest episode—an intimate journey through the maze of 'popcorn brain,' a term describing the overstimulated state our minds endure in this digital age. Together, we confront the challenge of reclaiming our patience and creativity from the clutches of immediate gratification that technology so often promises. We  recount my personal battles with the lure of the screen, divulging the small yet significant joys of disconnecting—even if just for a moment—to gaze out of a window or people-watch, allowing our imagination to flourish once again.

Yet, the episode doesn't stop at mere self-reflection; it peers into the profound influence of smartphone addiction on our lives. We confess about making the deliberate choice to charge our phone away from the bed, symbolizing a step towards overcoming these digital chains. We swap stories about missed moments and the subtle art of setting tech boundaries to preserve the sanctity of our real-world experiences. Highlighting the parallel between material environmentalism and digital sustainability, we broach the critical balance of mindful consumption. Our narrative is woven with threads of wisdom and strategies, inspiring a harmonious blend between the allure of modern technology and the enriching practices of a bygone era—stepping stones towards a more present and balanced existence.

Hypnotherapy coaching sessions can help if you are struggling with anxiety.  Please email us at englishsisters@gmail.com if you would like help with an issue, mentioning this episode of our podcast for a special discounted rate. We work with clients worldwide over Zoom or Skype. Buy our Book Stress Free in Three Minutes available on Amazon and Kindle, to help support our work. Thank you!

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Speaker 1:

Popping Popcorn, a popcorn brain. That's what we're going to be talking about on this week's episode of Get Real With the English Sisters. So if you're new to the podcast, please subscribe if you enjoy it, and if you're an old friend, brother or sister, enjoy it too. Absolutely Right, so let's get popping. So what is this podcast brain? I think it's like brain that always wants to be looking for new emotions. Yeah, actually, the term was coined by David Levi in 2011 and it actually means yes, it's like the brain is overstimulated by online use, excessive online use, and I think maybe in 2011 it was just still, well, it's fairly new then, wasn't it? Yeah, and I don't think everybody had this popcorn brain, but now I'm beginning to think we all might be, you know, afflicted by this condition.

Speaker 1:

I was watching a film yesterday and I was getting a bit bored, so I quickly went on my phone. You went to pop, didn't you? Yes, you did, but I was on Mom Fest. You were just like scrolling through your phone. Well, yeah, my husband was watching something on the computer and I started watching a film, which threw it boring. There you go, there you go. I do notice that, like before, I would have the patience to sit through, especially if I'm at a hot water visit. If you're at the cinema, you have to. You can actually eat popcorn when you're in cinema. I would notice that. I would like. I quickly, like I fast forward all the credits at the beginning of the film. I just can't be bothered with them. Well, like all the music at the beginning, all the credits, and then yeah, yeah, skip intro. Yeah, I'm a big fan of that. Skipping all the intros. I mean that's not good, is it? That's popcorn.

Speaker 1:

What actually has happened, or what is happening right now to our brains, is that we have been, we've all become, accustomed to this fast pace, always being constantly entertained in some way or another. So when we're like living in the real life, the real life is much slower. There are times of like You'll be just waiting for a bus and if you don't have your smartphone, in the olden days you'd either be reading a newspaper, a book but things are slower when you read them or you'd be looking around and maybe I don't know. I was also thinking like I was basically getting bored, like a podcast, for instance, when I listen to some podcasts, I might give a new podcast a go and if they've got a lot of music at the beginning and I just can't be bothered with it. I fast forward or I just think, oh, this is a boring podcast, really. Yeah, because it makes such a big meal about the intro. Right, okay, but do you think this is because your brain has become a little bit accustomed to like getting info and quickly, yeah Well, yeah, but there are some negative effects of this popcorn brain. Well, I realise it too, because it's making us lose our patience. Exactly, and we might have to be very patient with things and like slow down and think oh well, you know, you might go into a little bit of a daydream with something a bit boring. Exactly, for instance, with the podcast, if you're driving and the boring intro comes in, you might say your mind just wanders off and you start daydreaming about something. Yes, you could have a very creative idea in that moment. Exactly exactly. And these kind of pauses have, apparently, are fundamental for our brains. We're being like hacked by this technology. It really is hacking into our brain and it's not allowing us to have these pause times. You know, we really Well, we do daydream, we do daydream, we do get creative because you're just like yesterday I was doing it consciously trying, since I knew I was probably going to be talking about this popcorn brain thing on the podcast.

Speaker 1:

I thought, gosh, let me try. And I was waiting in a waiting room and I actually noticed honestly, of course, 95% of people were just heads down on the smartphone. I actually sneaked around, being a bit of a you know, just trying to see what they were looking at, and most of them were some form of real or other it was just information going by really quickly and they were just scrolling with their fingers and I thought, no, I'm not going to do this. And I didn't do it for about two hours and I started just looking at people and observing them. I think I'm sure it's that weird, though. Yeah, one girl was actually. She was a student girl. She had lovely curly hair. I just started admiring her hair and then I thought, gosh, it looks like I'm, you know. Then her eyes actually looked at mine and I thought, god, you know, this is almost going to be weird now, you know. And then I smiled and it overcame yeah, but yeah, yeah, because in the end I was just looking at.

Speaker 1:

Then I looked out the window and I saw San Pietro, because we were in Rome and I saw the Campitoglio I don't know what that's called in Campitoglio Capitoline, here, isn't it? Well, yeah, the English you know. And I thought, wow, you know. And I thought, god, I'm actually getting to see the view as well, without actually always being on my phone. There was another sneaky motive because I didn't want my battery life to run down too much, so I thought I get two birds. I killed two birds with one stone, to be quite honest, because I knew I was going to have to wait there for ages and ages, and I thought, well, let me try and not, you know, always be on my phone. Yeah, I think so.

Speaker 1:

I think this, what we've just talked about now, is hit it on the nail. Yeah, because what we don't realize is that these, like what we consider like waste of time moments are when your mind wanders and you have that moment to actually breathe. Those pauses are essential for the human mind. Ai doesn't need those pauses that can go on all night and all day and never, never have the need, but as humans, we do need to have those. So do you think that's why there's been a big increase in anxiety? Then, absolutely, yeah. There are studies that show that the popcorn break does suffer from anxiety.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because you're always scrolling to get the next fix, almost like adrenaline fix something, a dopamine fix, something that's going to like placate your mind, yes, with some kind of excitement, keep your mind busy with some kind of little pop, whether it's something on Insta or something that you find interesting, or, for a lot of people, it's just the world news. They might be obsessed with that, and then just scrolling through looking at graphic content, that is giving your mind a pop, but obviously it's also causing you a level of anxiety that has been unheard of before, I know. So that's obviously. That's absolutely not. It's time to take a deep breath, yeah, yeah, and disconnect ourselves from the constant streaming. What a lot of people don't really ask the way we do realise it as well is that everything you consume is like being fed to you by algorithms. Yes, absolutely so.

Speaker 1:

If you want to shake it up a bit, I would just suggest going to search for something that's completely like might be something that's quite mindful for you. Yes, yeah, you know, like going to be hooked on to SARS or something. Yeah, planets, yeah, something that will take you out of these. And also, I think, you know, an antidote to this popcorn brain is to make, like our smartphones, a little bit harder to get. What I mean by that is like in the morning, when, as soon as you wake up in the morning you know I'm guilty of this as well I have my smartphone right next to me. I do, but I don't look at it for ages. Well, that's great, but like I would even try and look at it just with one eye because the light was bright, you know, so obsessed with business, obsessed with reading the email, gosh, it's really awful. So, like for the past week, I haven't been doing that. I wonder why? Well, because I've been operated on my eyes. You had a knife, I've had the yeah, I had the implants put in the toric implants for astigmatism, and I also had cataracts which I had removed and I had these. I must say I'm doing very well. But, yes, if you, let us say that's why I think that's a bit. That's it. No, that is a bit Cheesy.

Speaker 1:

Even before I had the surgery, I would go to my phone and anyway, now I'm not going to do that anymore. This morning I took a deep breath. I don't look at my phone. I hardly ever look at it now. Yeah, I know that's good. I was thinking that's why businesses and clients yeah, no wonder the sales have gone down. Hey, you start looking at your phone a little bit more. No, I'm just kidding, but yeah, no, I try not to do it now. So I thought, if I make my life a little bit difficult, instead of having my phone plugged in right to my bedside table, I can put it on the dresser that's a couple of meters away in my bedroom and charge it there. The alarm I'll still hear it if I need an alarm, but it won't be right there. I just use my phone alarm, but then I don't look at it for ages, but probably about an hour in Gosh, no, most people look at their phones like as soon as they wake up. I used it more now, but now I don't.

Speaker 1:

As far as I made a conscious effort. You did make a conscious effort. It's probably stressing you, and I think the more you detox from it as well, the more you realise how it is like manipulating you and getting you hooked on to things. And also these notification banners just increase your popcorn, because whether you're selling something online, for example, and you hear that ching ching and you know that, oh, that gets you tense. Or the email notifications. You're expecting email. My goodness me, now I've turned all notifications off. That's that, if? Yeah, I think that's a really good idea, especially after like 6pm or something. These are really helpful. Not that we won't see your messages, only your notifications aren't necessary. Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

I mean like there was an example where this levy this professor. He said he was working with people and he was working with this man and he said so what do you do when you go home? You finally put your phone down when you go home. And the man said well, like, for example, last night, he said I was supposed to bathe the kids, the children. And he said as soon as I got home, I said to my wife yeah sure, I'll bathe the kids, I'll bathe the kids. And he said then I picked up my phone and I started answering emails. And then in the end he said he went on social media and it got a bit late and in the end he missed the kids' bath time. He said the appeal to the smartphone was stronger than even though he wanted to bathe the kids, because he said he enjoyed the time with the children.

Speaker 1:

So what are you saying he tried to get away with it. He didn't really want to do it that much. I don't know if you want to do it or not, but he was actually. He was obviously with the professor. He was addicted. Yes, he was addicted. He was addicted to his phone.

Speaker 1:

And that's where you really have to set boundaries, things like that, because otherwise the thing is that when you're on your phone, especially if you're smiling, it was an urge to use the phone. It was described in the study. If you have an urge to use the phone, it means that you're not like, you're not really present. Are you in the present moment with what you're supposed to be doing with real people in the real life? No, exactly, it's because real life is slower. I don't know if it's just slower, it's just it's harder sometimes and it's uncomfortable because you might get your kids screaming or shouting and you want to get away from it and just choosing what you were saying.

Speaker 1:

If you've been looking at cat videos or dog videos, whatever you've been doing and you choose, or whoever it is, you know, whatever you've chosen, whatever you like football, sport, whatever you've chosen and you're just being getting fed that, it's just like, it's almost like what's it called Like the spoon thing, tranquilising you. Yes, it's like turning you to some kind of a zombie. It's zombifying you. Really, it's almost like dragging you into this sense of like. I think this kind of AI does hack into your brain and it understands what your algorithms are, stuff that you watch, and then it just spits it out to you continuously so that you end up watching more of that content. I'm just saying that brain did, aren't you? And you've missed out on whatever you've been doing.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, you might not be brain dead, but you certainly have this popcorn brain thing and it only gets worse. It doesn't actually get better until you consciously realise, oh, my gosh, you're addicted, yeah, maybe I have popcorn brain as well. And you start thinking, gosh, can I try, like what I did in the waiting room yesterday? Can I try and not? You know, also, you save your battery. Can I try and not look at my phone for like 10 minutes now? Okay, so I'm going to be sitting here at the train station, bus station, I won't look at my phone for 10 minutes. You know, start off slow. Five minutes, even Some people, that's a really long time. I think that the most 10 minutes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think the most harmful ones are like the shorts, the short videos, the reals, because they just really do. You know, they keep disengaging and engaging your brain constantly. Exactly, whereas if you watch those little vlogs, a longer video, it's not the same, mind you, a lot of them are edited now in very short bursts, so there's not that much Like, there isn't that much time for your mind to wonder. They kind of keep you hooked on. No, that's right. And in order to learn and to solidify the information and the content, we need, like what you said, to be able to digest it, and the digestion can be as short as like literally two to three minutes just to digest the information we've learned. But our brain does need these pauses. This is scientifically proven that we do need to have these pauses. So, yes, being having constant information, in the end perhaps we don't even really remember what we were watching.

Speaker 1:

If somebody says to you okay, you've been scrolling for an hour, what was one thing that you can still remember, you know? Say, I know lots of videos about cooking or something did you? Did you understand it? I mean, at least cooking is kind of useful, isn't it? You think, okay, I'm learning recipes. But when it becomes just watching, one thing if you are learning is different and I see I'm gonna watch of it to learn and then you go and look at the recipe and then you make it as well on the instant. Oh no, that's taking an action. That's not that. That's actually really good. Yeah, that depends how you consume the content. If you just scroll it, if it's just one video after another and you're laughing, it already laughing is, yeah, sounds good. But if it's actually taking away, taking you away from your real life.

Speaker 1:

I mean Otto, our little dog, he doesn't even like it. If I get the phone out, this is he gets upset, he'll go away. I'll get the phone out to take a picture of him and he runs away. And he goes away as soon as he sees the phone. I've got it in my hand. He doesn't want anything to do with it because he knows I'm not gonna be giving him his individual rescue cat. When she comes on my lap and I have my phone because I want to do a chair, get whatever, she actually gets a little poor and pushes the phone away. Makes me laugh because she doesn't. She doesn't want to be stroked with just one hand and not proper attention. She wants me to stroke her with both hands and actually, oh hello, little one you know and actually talked to her, whereas I'm not doing it if I'm holding one phone, and I mean this is an example of our pets.

Speaker 1:

But let's talk about, you know, our kids. You know, when you're not giving them the full attention either, that does have, that has a different, you know, series of very serious consequences. So, if you know, if you do have young children, you have to be aware of this as well. Be please, be aware of it, because they just don't get that full attention that they want. I, we're talking about our pets. When we, when our kids were little luckily there weren't any phones, because we would have been guilty of it as well probably, looking at our phones, you know, yeah, I think it's almost inevitable unless you actually put it away. Yeah, you have to make a conscious effort about she putting it way and saying, silencing it and they're not looking at it the same way. Yeah, we create boundaries with work, like you know, and with friends and things. I think we're gonna have to start really creating boundaries with our own phones and say, no, well, I wish I was.

Speaker 1:

I think it was a TED talk or someone was saying imagine, if I'm talking to you, like now we're doing this podcast because you can see, if you watch on YouTube, and I've got the phone here and I'm I've just, I'm just holding it, but I'm still talking to you, but I'm holding my phone. How does that make you feel? And all the people in the audience were thinking no, I don't feel it. Yeah, I feel it's like any minute you're gonna be looking at your phone or going to it or trying to do something with it. I don't feel as if you're fully here. Same study was done with the dating they said when two people were dating, if they place the person, place their phone on the table. The other person said that they didn't feel as if they got full attention, as if the person had their phone in the pocket. You couldn't see. Yeah, because they felt that, no, this person might get surprised me. I put the phone away, especially if you're dating.

Speaker 1:

You want to find out info about somebody. Well, do you want to feel that they're really there, not info? You want to. You want me to go? That's after. You want to get to know that person. When you're doing this sound bad. You want to get info. It's like I was. Just as well, you're not dating. Yeah gosh, I'll probably interview them. I'm so bad at that kind of stuff. Okay then. So beware, beware. You know you don't want your brain popping like a, like a popcorn. You know cooking. Make sure that you know you do protect yourself. And this. And half times where you just say, okay, I'm gonna be bored now for five minutes and then I'm gonna sit in the train and look outside the window, see the trees passing by.

Speaker 1:

I think it's also part of this, this habit, all culture as well, that we have to have everything so quickly and having all everything so like handy for fast, fast and handy. I mean, goodness me. I mean, like we were saying before, just to make a phone call before it used to be a right massive just to find information, you'd have to go to a library again. Book, come on. So. So, yes, sometimes let's get some good things from the past and bring them into the future so we can still have a lovely use of our phone and just have a healthy balance with it and like with our planet.

Speaker 1:

Now that we're taking more care of our planet, yeah, with that, you know, with trying not to use so much rapping and just trying to reuse things up cycle. Yeah, well, with our minds, we have to take care of our minds as well, not to consume information so much and so rapidly. Exactly, allow for the pauses, allow for the pauses and sort of minimising things a little bit too. Absolutely so. Last now, what you think you can comment on Spotify, apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast, and you can also come and see us on YouTube, where we'd love for you to leave a comment. We say hi to you. Yes, absolutely lots of love and smiles from the English sisters.

Popcorn Brain's Impact on Our Lives
The Detrimental Effects of Phone Addiction
Balance and Mindful Consumption Importance