Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Digital Dilemma

My word of 2018... You'll have to read to end for that......

It's come to the point of feeling like my mind is fractured. Like split into a hundred pieces and I'm not even me anymore.
I noticed a few months ago as I was spending my mornings doing projects around the house or yard that I was feeling good, like a normal person. (Or what used to be a 'normal' person.) You see, I had succumbed to the digital age trap and was 'losing' myself.
A few years back I can honestly say it took me on a journey of self-discovery but now it was to the point that I had let a monster consume me. I had days that I felt like a zombie and had accomplished nothing that whole day.
I read this last week in an email and thought... Yes, you hit it on the head! (If you care to read..)
If your cellphone dominates your life – if, like most people, you carry it everywhere and you check it continually – this little device could be making significant changes inside your brain.
Smartphones were introduced just a little over ten years ago. Now they’re a universal distraction and obsession. According to the Pew Research Center, 46 percent of all Americans say they are so dependent on these devices they cannot live without them.1      ..............
A study performed in Asia that involved young men who are “addicted” to their phones and the Internet found significant chemical changes in brain tissue. The researchers peered into brains using an MRS (Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy), a type of MRI (Magnetic Resonance imaging) that categorizes the brain’s chemical composition.
The study also measured to what degree the participants were hooked on surfing the Internet and compelled to spend time on their phones.
The first finding was disturbing: those who displayed the highest degree of addiction also suffered the most intense depression, insomnia, anxiety and impulsivity.2
And when the scientists measured levels of neuro-chemicals in the brains of these young men, they found elevated amounts of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) – a neurotransmitter that slows down and restricts the signals exchanged among neurons. GABA is also part of the brain’s system that influences vision and muscle control as well as regulating anxiety.
Plus, the tests revealed reduced amounts of Glx (glutamate-glutamine) – a neurotransmitter that excites and stimulates neurons.
In these smartphone “addicts,” the ratio of GABA to Glx was significantly higher in the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex. That’s an area of the brain that is involved in the moderation of heart rate and blood pressure while also taking part in decision making and emotional changes.
The researchers say the increases in GABA can cause an increase of anxiety and fatigue. They think that having extra GABA in the anterior cingulate gyrus can also affect your ability to learn new information and process memories properly.  It goes on to talk about how the light effects your lack of melatonin production in the evening too.
Now I can honestly say that on days I've let my computer and other devices take a back seat I am WAY less stressed, anxious and seem more focused. Since Thanksgiving, I've spent more time doing mixed media projects, drawing and painting and have been a lot more calm. I posted way less on Instagram in December than any month (which is unusual for me.) Hardly looked at Facebook since then, although that's never been a daily thing. And I've barely done any editing of photos on my iPad in 2 months. I am trying to shoot at least one Hipstamatic shot a day for a 365. (which will end up being 30 if I'm lucky. And I've already cheated.)
Yes the internet has enriched my life but it's also taken it over. And I've let it. I have quit striving to live up to what I think others expect of me. So I guess that mean I'll be 'quitting' a few things. Some are hard to do though. It's hard because it feels like I'm either giving up or I've failed. But they just aren't worthy of my precious time.
Which reminds me.... my word for this year is TRANSFORMED. I didn't pick it, it picked me last November. I knew the minute I heard it that was my word. And if it wasn't I wouldn't have remembered it. ha, ha, ha, ha!
So who really knows what this year will bring, but I'm ready.


  1. I try so hard to find a balance between social media and the computer/phone. I don't do Instagram much anymore. I am happiest when I am working on projects, and it is so good for my brain. I read a good book recently that had a good quote. The book is The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus. The quote is "We have been raised in a world where information is deemed far more important than imagination."

  2. I've also taken a pause from the internet ... since last fall, more or less absent - I've picked up now the weekly posts on the blog, and posting every bow and then on insta. Have been knitting a lot, reading and have started a bullet-journal 8love the doodling - scrap-booking aspect in it - having a space for at weekly photo as well :)
    A great word for 2018 - Transformed! I've been thinking about Ease or Slow.
    Your mixed media art is so inspiring - the little girl and the barn in the background - and off course he pumpkins, being my favorites :)

  3. I'm an observer and have observed people responding to the internet in this way and so picked up clues in myself too. I've tried to really be in tuned to how it affects me and why I do what. For affirmation from someone or because I'll grow from it? The questions go on, but I know you know what I mean. I begin my day with prayer and every once in awhile I look at my phone first out of a bit of habit. Then when I catch myself I turn it face down and take note of the lovely feeling of peace I get after I do that. And then I try to remember that.

  4. I can understand how in this digital age we think we must do everything...instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’ve been blogging for almost 12 years and when all these became popular I made a choice. I knew I couldn’t do it all so I chose just to blog and use that as my platform to record my journal thoughts and my photos. It was the best choice for me. So now I have time to do photography and art without putting pressure on myself. I’m glad that you realized what was making you unhappy. You are such a creative person and I always love reading your blog and seeing how you use digital art. We don’t have to do it all, just whatever we really want.


I read and appreciate all your comments. Have a blessed day!