Our ancestors evolved living in tribes and small communities until the creation of cities and modern society. For the last 200,000 to 300,000 years we lived and interacted with others on a daily basis. Our mind and body adapted to learn how to survive in a small community. In tribal life, everyone had a purpose and a job to do. This dependence on someone else wired us to be social and help one another. This behavior trait was advantageous for us back then because it allowed us to survive dire situations. Currently, the need for help from others to survive has greatly been diminished. This has left us clueless, searching for our passion and purpose. The majority of us live alone and can survive in today's world by ourselves. But this environment can also do harm and lead to a lack of purpose due to you not being needed. This lack of purpose and need by others has caused the use of social media to skyrocket.
We claim that our cell phones, tablets and television are our possessions, but in reality they posses us. We sleep next to them and check them first thing in the morning.
Do we even remember what life was like before smartphones?
It is obvious that we are dependent on them and have an addiction. However, the majority of people don't view this addiction as a problem. Social media is designed to take advantage of your innate need to feel important. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all operate on this desire. Each time you make a post you feel a sense of importance and purpose. As people like, comment or share your post that feeling of importance increases. However, these feelings of importance and comfort are short lived and leave us craving more. But in seconds this craving can be satisfied with a click of a button. Overtime this behavior will destroy our attention span and rewire our brain for instant gratification.
The constant need for instant gratification is the one thing that can detract and impede someone from achieving their goals. It is a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. Once our brains are rewired to crave instant gratification we are at the mercy of every drug, including food. Yes, food is a drug because it changes your mood and how you feel. When we lack patience and the ability to delay gratification we are at risk for weight gain through excessive calorie consumption. These types of calories tend to be the processed food kind, which tend to be high in fat and sugar. They lack protein and fiber which means they won’t fill you up. rather they leave you wanting more. To fight off these high-calorie, non-satiating (non-filling) foods you need to have disciple and the ability to delay gratification. You may not realize it, but your constant phone use is reducing your focus and ability to delay gratification.
Practice Makes Permanent
The ability to delay gratification is the one skill you need to live a healthy life. If you can learn this skill then you will never need to diet again. To learn the skill you must practice. The two practices I recommend are simple and easy to do, but hard to execute consistently. They are meditation and the Pomodoro technique. For meditation I recommend going to Headspace.com and following their 10 day 10 minute challenge. I have been using headspace for over three years and have found great success with it. I think you will too.
What is The Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro technique was founded by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. It is a time management technique that has been shown to increase productivity by avoiding distractions. Performing it is simple. Perform one task for 25 minutes straight without distractions and then take a three to five minute break. Repeat this three to four times and then take a 15-30 minute break. Use this procedure as many times as needed to complete your task. Both techniques, meditation and Pomodoro, will improve your ability to delay gratification by strengthening your focus and willpower. Remember, the mind is a muscle, which means it can be trained to react the way you want it to. You just have to be willing to put in the work.
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