Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Secret to Unplugging and Recharging

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One of the best things you can choose to do for your social life - both on and offline - is to disconnect. 

Oh sure, you say, people do that all the time. Disconnecting is one of the things we do on an almost cyclical basis. We do it when we're fed up with the banal everydayness of all the posts we see in Facebook, or when we're overstimulated with all the media we've absorbed for months on end. When we disconnect, we go on a cleanse, we think. We purge our system of all the bad vibes we've built up in the weeks and months of being connected.

And after some time - when we can't stand being so far away from the buzzing world of social media - we reconnect with a vengeance, feeding on the silent electrical impulses we receive from the world of the Internet. 

It's no wonder that the 'net's gone from a luxury to a basic necessity. It's being treated like a lifeline to the world at large, where the time spent away from it comes rushing back in, consuming our daily lives with a vengeance, eating up more man hours up until our kinesthetic system has reached a euphoric state of equilibrium - only then do we settle back into a regular pattern of connecting to the lifetap of the Internet for our daily dose of society.

Human beings weren't made to evolve this way, however. The human body developed a circadian rhythm of sleep and daily activity for many reasons, one of them being that the subconscious could only stand so much society at a time. Your mileage may vary, with extroverts having a bigger tank than most   people, and introverts having a much smaller capacity. But the point is that at the end of the day, people shut themselves in their homes for a reason - to escape from society. To recharge. And, ironically, to disconnect.

The life cycle of an average battery is determined at the simplest level by two things: how long it has been kept charging, and how many times it has been recharged. Power cycles, they're called. The more a battery is charged, the shorter its lifespan gets, and the longer it is kept charging, the more damaged it gets. There's an art to figuring out how long to keep a battery connected to the power supply, an unspoken code of how many hours it should be kept charging. 20 to 90%, the experts will say. Keep your battery within those figures at all times, and you will keep your battery long-lived and prosperous.

The same can be said of people. Disconnecting to recharge might be an interesting prospect once in a while, but "recharging" for long periods of time will do little to keeping your need for social media in check. 

A better solution would be quick, regular disconnections. Keeping your social life at 20 - 90% means disconnecting at regular intervals, giving yourself time to regroup on a regular basis. The secret to this is to keep them short - don't look at your phone thirty minutes before going to bed, or read a physical book for an hour every day. These short recharging cycles will help your mind balance the need for society agains the natural need of a human being to be alone. And since the cycles are short, you don't miss much - you can plug right back in without developing a gnawing hunger for the connection, keeping it easier to control your impulses.

The key here, ultimately, is finding your balance. Again, your mileage may vary. But once you recognize that you've struck a golden balance between plugged in and unlugged, the very first thing you will notice is that you will have stopped calling social media a chore.

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