Overstimulation Can Dramatically Reduce The Human Attention Span – Solution, Krav Maga!
In our fast paced world where immediate gratification has become the norm, what has happened to our attention spans?
With a myriad of choices to occupy our time, boredom should be a relic of a bygone era. But is it? There seems to be a boundless supply of high-intensity entertainment at our fingertips 24/7/365. Yet according to a variety of surveys, up to 50% of Americans are “often bored” at home or school, while approximately two-thirds of us are chronically bored at work.
There are a few explanations for our current state:
- We are over-stimulated. The more entertainment we are exposed to, the more entertainment we require to feel satisfied. As our minds become accustomed to high-intensity and fast paced stimulation, our brains acclimate to the level of activity and thus we are less tolerant of low-level stimulation.
For example, slower paced tasks such as reading or writing reports, attending meetings or lectures, and studying seem ‘boring’ to us because we have conditioned ourselves to want ever-changing stimuli.
- Screen time is also partially to blame. Rather than participating in a variety of activities that engage different neural systems (sport, gardening, cooking, painting) to relieve our boredom, we pick up our ‘devices’ – which revolve around tapping, scrolling, and viewing.
Ironically, we have access to so much ‘activity’ via our phones/computers/tablets, but the process of obtaining this entertainment is so repetitive that it is, in itself, a source of boredom.
So what are the implications of our device addictions and stimuli bombardment? According to Dr. Sandi Mann, a professor of psychology in England, “Humans are hard-wired to seek novelty, which produces a release of dopamine (a feel good chemical). As soon as a new stimulus is noticed, however, it is no longer new, and after a while, it bores us. To get that same pleasurable dopamine release, we seek fresh sources of distraction.” Which has lead some scientists to conclude our attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish—which is eight seconds.
Research suggests that chronic boredom is responsible for a litany of negative outcomes such as overeating, gambling, truancy, antisocial behavior, drug use, risk taking and more.
In light of these findings, we can only recommend that you continue to train and participate in productive activities that engage both your muscles and your brain. And take a break from your devices to let your brain adjust to a normalized level of stimuli. You may be surprised to find that by being a bit bored in the short term, you can actually alleviate boredom in the long run.