Our contemporary world is a bombardment of distraction. During our everyday lives, we deal with visual, auditory and even olfactory cacophony. So, how do you turn on, tune in, drop out? Even though that’s a phrase borrowed by one of the biggest advocates of LSD and the counter-culture movement of the seventies, it is not an invitation to grow your hair long, do drugs, and wear patchouli. If you want to, though, I’m not going to stop you. I’m sitting at a desk, after all – far, far away; it’s pretty much physically impossible. But I can give you a few tips on how to simplify your life to help your brain. Oh! And on that drug thing.
See also: Using Taoist Philosophy to Better Your Life
There is a specific group of people that LOVE marijuana, namely stoners. And although the recreational and medicinal drug can give the user a feeling of euphoria, it can also lower your I.Q. To be fair, that applies mostly to adults who have been consistent users since their adolescence, so if you keep forgetting why you went into the living room or walked out of your house in your business suit and Birkenstocks, it’s because you were a white, suburban version of Bob Marley as a teenager.
Watching Reality Shows
Even the most adamant anti-television pseudo-intellectual hipster has slipped in a couple of episodes of Real Housewives between reading Tolstoy and fixing his bicycle. It’s a guilty pleasure we have all indulged in, and we are stupider for it. According to research carried out by Markus Appel at the University of Linz in Austria, an effect was observed in which people reading a story about a stupid person actually become slightly stupid themselves. So, if we take a look at Jersey Shore, for example, watching the fake-tanned, hair-gelled gym rats fight, get drun,k and sleep it off (not really the pinnacle of intellectual pursuits) will prime you to act in a similar a fashion. I’d argue that just mentioning the show’s name enough times will make your brain shrink. “Jersey Shore, Jersey Shore, Jersey Shore, Jersey Shore… WHATCHA LOOKING AT, HUH? COME AT ME, BRO, COME AT ME!”
Like I’ve mentioned before, the brain is a complete asshole: it manipulates us, hides information from us, and makes our lives miserable. Well, the body isn’t much better. Although we have evolved from the age of living in caves when we were hunter/gatherers, we are still hardwired to crave the highest calorie foods which come with the lowest expenditure of energy. If you just finished an I.Q.-lowering marathon of Jersey Shore, let me clarify: processed sugars are exactly that – super high calorie food and, although we crave it hard, it’s horrible for us. Not only do processed sugars restrict your grey matter’s processing speed, they also happen to diminish short term-memory. Which is fine anyway, because:
As if there aren’t enough reasons to lose a few pounds, considering it puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, having ample girth can also make you stupid. How do I know? Kent State University made an observational study on obese individuals that underwent bariatric surgery (lap-band surgery) and found that, after 12 weeks post-op, the subjects scored on par with the average for memory skills. However, when they were still obese, they scored way below the average. As if poor, overweight people didn’t have enough problems.
Living in the City
We all have dreamt of leaving our small Podunk town behind us to try our luck in the Big City. Listen though, Jethro, you really don’t have that many I.Q. points to spare, so you might want to go back to the farm. In numerous studies, it has been proven that living in the city not only stresses people out (which also has a negative effect on brain function), it also over stimulates the brain to the point where it says “F*ck it” from fatigue. Just to come full circle, this effect also influences self-control which makes people more likely to indulge in junk food (which also restricts brain function) and sugars (are you even paying attention? I just mentioned that). Add on top of that the fact that high stress levels are associated with weight gain, and you’ll be a drooling corporate caveperson in no time. Or maybe more appropriately: in a New York minute.
Oh, how tired are we of people proudly declaring themselves “Multitaskers” as if they’re these elite go-getters with higher-than-average intellect. Well, guess what Molly the Multitasker? Your multitasking ways are making you stupider. I used the world ‘multitask’ way too much in those previous sentences, so I’m replacing it with… poly-doing. Our brain is a little like a squishy computer, and much like its much harder counterpart, the brain has limited processing power. When you’re poly-doing, you are dividing that processing power to the various tasks you’re doing. If you push it far enough, it might even result in the proverbial “Brain Fart” which is basically your brain bogging down under the load of information, like a computer would if you have too many programs open. So, next time Pauley the Poly-Doer comes at you with a mug of coffee while talking on the phone and sending an email from her tablet, just shake some keys in front of her face – that should send her over the top and she’ll forget what she wanted you for. Trust me, I’m not a professional.
I sh*t you not, researchers found that children that were exposed to just 9 minutes of the cartoon/fever dream/ADHD enhancer lowers children’s mental faculties significantly. I haven’t found any research regarding the cartoon/fever dream/ADHD enhancer effects on adults, but I mean, look at it… it’s a bombardment of sound, colors and rapidly changing scenes. Even if it didn’t lower your mental functions, it could potentially give you a conniption. Also, adult consumption of the cartoon usually involves other types of consumption which most definitely restrict your brain functions (I’m talking about weed and alcohol, Einstein), so just say no to SpongeBob, watch some Sesame Street or Fraggle Rock the next time you’re high. Fraggles were basically hippies living in a commune, anyway.
Is there anything else you know of that you can take out of your lifestyle to detox your brain? Let me know in the comments section below.