Imagine you’re trying to get something important done. You check your phone to see if someone commented on your post. Someone did. You respond back and try to start your work again. You check your phone again, someone comments, and you reply again. This goes on for a while. You stretch out your arms, check your phone, squirm in your seat–you’re fully distracted. As you struggle to focus, you keep thinking about grabbing your phone to check it. You purposely keep it 3 feet away but you’re still thinking about checking your phone. You’re experiencing digital addiction.
Digital addiction ruins your focus, increases the time to finish your work and affects the quality of your work. This can lead to lasting negative effects. Imagine these 2 opposing scenarios:
- You learn how to start and finish tasks and complete what you set out to do and complete your goals.
- Your living with regret because you had big dreams but lacked the focus to make those goals happen.
It’s not all in your head. Your being played by companies who build technology for their benefit and not always yours. A lot of the apps you use are designed like slot machines. They want you coming back for your chance to “win big.” Hitting “refresh” on an app is like pulling a slot machine handle but instead of cash, you’re looking for “likes” and “comments.” Companies are going to keep investing in ways to keep you hooked and spending time on their apps.
So what can you do?
Fireworks in your Brain
To combat this, people are looking for ways to expand their brain power. Brain activity can be measured by an EEG. When the brain activity of a music listener is compared to the brain activity of a musician, the difference is huge. If brain activity were fireworks, then the music listener’s brain activity is like a few fireworks lit by your neighbor. The musician’s brain activity is like 4th of July fireworks at the county fair (check out this ted talk for a deeper dive).
When you play an instrument, your brain is analyzing melody, sound, and rhythm while it integrates everything to create a musical experience. Motor skills, which are controlled by both sides of your brain, are highly engaged. Your auditory and visual cortices are on fire. Playing an instrument is like a work out for your brain. So how do you make this happen?
Playing guitar is one way to light these fireworks!
So if you have always wanted to play guitar or have admired the sounds or are in awe when you hear a great guitar player, then pick it up and give it a try. If you’re skeptical, I understand. It’s difficult to measure exactly what the benefits are. It’s also difficult to measure the negative side effects of cell phone addiction. But people agree there are negative consequences even if they can’t be fully measured.
The guitar can be the antidote for digital addiction and the spark you need to expand your brain power. What have you got to lose? Maybe a lot.
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