How Facebook Helped My Brain This Week

How Facebook Helped My Brain This Week

Have you ever had something happen that seems like an accident or even a problem and turns out to be really great for you?

That happened to me this week.

My Facebook app on my phone was freezing up.

It stopped loading new posts altogether.

So I uninstalled and reinstalled the app. Logical, right?

Well NOW, when I try to log in, the app tells me the phone number I’ve listed is NOT the correct phone number for the account -except that it is! It’s the only number it could possibly be!

Bottom line-no more Facebook on my phone.

What I discovered?

I had a great week, felt less stressed and literally felt like I had so much more time and got so much more done.

I’m not writing this tell all of you that in order to have a happy brain you MUST take Facebook off your phone . . . really, I’m not.

I’m writing this to explain why FOR ME & MY BRAIN it was a great move.

I’ll share what was happening in my brain and how to know if Facebook or anything else is having the same effect in your brain (stressing you out, zapping your focus, causing procrastination or making you negative).

And I’ll teach you how to tell if something in your life is causing this dip in your mood and motivation AND how to get your happy back!

Colorful Gears Brain

There is a beautiful balance that needs to happen in our brain between the pre-frontal regions and the limbic system. A key player in the limbic system is the basal ganglia which sets the “pace” for the brain. If your tempo in life swings TOO FAR either way, you can lose your “edge.”

This balance is largely influenced by certain brain chemicals that your brain naturally creates, especially one called Dopamine.

If you are lacking in dopamine it makes your emotions harder to control or regulate. Low dopamine levels also cause a lack of interest, lack of motivation, lack of ability to focus and . . . you feel blah and everything feels boring.

Solutions for Low Dopamine:

  • Do something new or exciting
  • Establish a regular routine with tasks (as an example – set an order to how and when you check email or look at Facebook, etc., and follow it every day
  • Try Fish Oil (unless you are Pyroluric)

If you have too high of dopamine levels, which are accompanied by adrenaline and cortisol, you will be OVER stimulated. This will make you feel edgy, stressed and even start to become negative in your thinking, behavior and how you talk with other people. This is what my friend, Dr Joe Annibali of the Amen Clinics, calls BUSY BRAIN. A busy brain can’t think, solve problems or make decisions. If your brain is TOO busy, you’ll likely be spinning your wheels, feeling like you can’t ever get ahead and being very “reactive” to your situation.

Solutions for High Dopamine:

  • Any para-sympathetic nervous enhancer that calms the limbic system – these are the things you know like deep breathing, meditation, laughter, take a walk
  • Cut the caffeine, and if for some reason you decide not to, at the VERY LEAST, eat your breakfast first
  • Bring attention to the tasks on your schedule that get you the most worked up and just TRY eliminating or reducing them for a week

Here’s where Facebook comes in for me. Each of has a unique optimal level of arousal. We have a beautiful “sweet spot” for our own brain that lies between being

Busy Enough and Too Busy

For me, I didn’t even realize that Facebook on my phone was making my brain TOO BUSY. In hindsight, I saw that I’d been gradually increasing the number of times I checked it during the day, especially when the Reboot Your Brain Summit was going on. I was checking those groups CONSTANTLY! This was the one little thing that pushed my brain into overload. And I NEVER would have realized that until fate stepped in and removed Facebook from my phone!

Young beautiful business woman working on laptop in the park

Here’s a really important distinction I want to make about being busy . . . 

I can’t emphasize enough that optimal brain function comes down to finding the balance that is right for you. However, I see far too many people that let their MIND tell them “It’s OK, you can handle all this.” YOU, as the chief operator, need to step in and determine what is too much on your schedule and what is too little.

There are definite benefits to being busy:

For example – my Dad is 80 years old and retired. He keeps his brain sharp with his Sudoku and by playing his guitar and singing and…he picked up the accordion at age 69. (PS. He doesn’t read music at all – good brain!)

There is a recent study out that was published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience in which 300 people between age 50-89 who had kept very busy schedules over their lifetime were tested for memory, reasoning and mental quickness and did BETTER than those who hadn’t been as productive in their lives.

This study suggests that accomplishing more tasks in a day (busy schedule) helped cognitive function as they aged.

I think it comes down to looking at the tasks you do in life as just that . . . the things you accomplish as opposed to the dopamine and adrenaline producing perspective that “this is too much” or “this is a problem.”

Lastly, it comes down to not making assumptions in regards to how much your brain can handle and what your optimal level of arousal is. Test things out. Be curious. Try a week with your social media and a week without. See what feels best for YOUR brain.

[Tweet “The only way to KNOW . . . is to know.”]

PS. If you notice that I’m not commenting or liking your Facebook posts as much lately . . . know that it’s not you, it’s MY brain and I still like you! 🙂

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