Are you really taking a break if you are content-binging all the time?

Design: Fatima Jahan Ena

"Why am I so tired all the time?" - we keep asking ourselves, time and again. Our brains are asking for rest almost all the time, prompting us to take frequent breaks from working or studying. However, it's likely that our downtime is spent browsing our phones, watching videos, or scrolling through social media, continually making our brains constantly process information. So technically, are we really resting?

Our parents may have been on to something with their constant warnings about keeping the phone down, because research shows that our idea of leisure may not exactly be foolproof. When was the last time you took time off for power naps, self-contemplating, taking a walk, or simply staring out the window? Recreation through content, whether it's in the form of entertainment or trivia, keeps the brain on a constant grind and exhausts us.

Studies have revealed that for our brains to function at optimal levels, regular and genuine breaks are necessary. When we conduct activities that call for little cognitive effort, we allow our brains to enter a state known as the default mode network (DMN). This network promotes a boost to our cognitive abilities like creativity, problem-solving, and memory consolidation when we allow our minds to wander freely. Content consumption, however, deters us from entering this state, lowering our attention spans, causing increased lethargy and procrastination.

We spend the majority of our time online consuming short-form entertainment in the form of reels, shorts, and TikToks. While these may appear to be innocent pastimes, our attention spans and overall well-being demand otherwise. Short contents attract and hold our attention for brief periods of time - between 30 seconds to 3 minutes- causing the brain to crave instant satisfaction, which lowers our capacity to focus on lengthier tasks. This could also explain why we prefer to study from lecture slides and short notes over textbooks, or rely on 5-minute tutorials rather than experimenting with a task ourselves.

Moreover, we can become addicted to the dopamine rush we get from such content, leading to an insatiable demand for more stimulation and endless scrolling. Our brains' need for constant stimuli dominates its need for relaxation. Controlling this gets more difficult when everyone else is doing the same thing because we want to stay relevant while also having an immense pile of tasks. As a result, we end up in an inexplicable cycle of burnout and fatigue.

For our productivity and energy to shoot up, our brains need ample space to declutter and recharge our mental bandwidth. Pursuing hobbies, spending time outdoors, trying meditation, or even shutting your eyes for a few minutes can provide the much-needed break. It's okay to let yourself go offline, and lay low for a while to make way for the creative juices to fill up.


1. Wiley Online Library. (2021). Association between social media use and depression among U.S. young adults.

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৭ ঘণ্টা আগে|শিক্ষা

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