Meditation or Instagram?
Take a second to think, what is the very first thing you typically do after waking up in the morning?
If you’re anything like me, upon opening your eyes, you reach for your phone and begin mindlessly scrolling through social media, unaware of the psychological toll all of those stressors are taking on the mind.
Well, maybe not totally unaware…but it’s easier to ignore my addiction to Instagram because it’s relatively harmless, right?
If you follow me, you know that I strongly believe in the mind body connection. There are countless studies that prove that whatever we feed our minds directly affects our physiology.
For example, if I think about what it would be like to watch someone throw up their lunch on the train, my body has a reaction - I feel nauseous, my mouth begins to water, and I kind of feel like throwing up myself.
This is kind of a bad example, but you get what I’m saying.
The opposite is true as well. If my body is in chronic pain, that’s definitely going to affect my everyday mood, and will maintain a major roll in how I interact with my environment, or how I perceive myself over time. Eventually, I may not know who I am without that chronic pain.
Knowing this, we can claim that scrolling through Instagram first thing in the morning everyday, consuming all of those unnecessary stressors, could be analogous to wolfing down a Big Mac upon waking up. It is the idea that we are filling ourselves with unnecessary crap that takes a toll on our biology. And if we do it every day, we create an over- abundance of stress, which puts us in a constant state of fight or flight.
Our ancient ancestors had different reasons to be stressed than we do today. The mind works as a tool to tell us when we need to be on high alert, when we need to make quick decisions to run from a bear or save our children from certain doom. Today our stressors look a little different, potentially taking on the form of an unpleasant boss, a careless coworker, your teenager’s rebelliousness, take your pick. These are all stressors that have the potential to put us in a state of fight or flight, something the mind (specifically the sympathetic nervous system) used to only utilize when it was necessary to save our bodies from imminent doom. Now, when we are in a constant state of fight or flight, an over abundance of hormones are being released in fight or flight mode, making it harder for our bodies to return to a normal state wherein real healing and rest can take place.
There have been several occasions throughout the past couple years where I have noticed myself feeling nauseous after being on social media for an extended period of time. Now it makes sense to me. Filling my brain first thing in the morning with a bunch of unnecessary junk day after day, was really taking a toll on my well-being. My body was telling me something that my brain could not comprehend at the time.
So, there are ways to detoxify the physical body, but how can we detoxify our minds?
You may have guessed it… Meditation.
A practice in quieting the mind, of going inward. Meditation can sound intimidating to many, the first image that might pop into your head is the Buddha sitting calmly with legs crossed on a mountain top. But really, meditation can be anything that allows your mind to be fully present. My personal favorite, relatively uncomplicated meditation, is simply focusing on the breath.
I could go ON about the benefits of meditation, but I think I’ll save that for another blog post.
Begin your say with 3-5 minutes of meditation rather than scrolling through some old high school friend’s IG feed about cats and what they had for dinner - and EXPERIENCE your mind and body thank you throughout the rest of your day. Drop some unnecessary mental “weight,” and your body will follow suit.
“Heal” Documentary Film, by Kelly Noonan-Gores (2017)