The Hidden Energy Vampire

Moving- let alone moving into your very first place from another state 800 miles away- is tiring and stressful. I haven’t been blogging as much as I would have liked, but now that I’m pretty much settled into my new place, I’m glad to be back at it. And despite moving being the whole ordeal that it is, I’ve noticed that I’ve actually had more energy and time than ever before.

Of course, I attribute this to using my phone and computer less and less. In fact, I spent nearly 5 days without even flipping open the lid of my laptop. But something just clicked for me yesterday, which I noticed only after watching 2 hours of a free movie, Big Fish, on the smart TV that a former roommate left behind. After watching the movie, I was going to read the assigned chapters in my fashion textbooks. But I was tired.

So I took a four-hour nap instead.

It doesn’t make sense, does it? How does two hours of TV wear me out to the point of wanting to take a four-hour mega-nap? Sure, I hadn’t gone to bed at a decent time the night before as I would’ve liked (although I am making progress with this resolution of mine) to and I had to get up early to make it to class at 9 AM (yes, on a Saturday; thankfully I switched to a weekday afternoon section). But I’ve run on 4-5 hours of sleep before during this whole moving ordeal and not had much of a problem if any at all. And I don’t drink coffee, tea, soda pop, or consume any other forms of caffeine.

My one and only completely unscientific, totally made up, guesstimated and pulled-out-my-ass deduction is that screens suck out our energy. Or at least my energy.

I found one article online to support this conclusion of mine:

survey participants commonly reflect that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted. They say they have more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading. After playing sports or engaging in hobbies, people report improvements on mood. After watching TV, people’s moods are about the same or worse than before

It’s from a survey, so like I said- not very scientific or proof of causation. But it makes sense to me, even if it does feel a little paradoxical at first. Watching TV or surfing the web is often thought of as “doing nothing” so the idea that it could be tiring is kind of ironic.

But to expand on my BS theory, I think that engaging in screen time can be mentally tiring. Sure, it’s not physically taxing like being a construction worker. But imagine being a mathematician or engineer who does calculations at NASA all day. I’m no mathematician but I’m willing to bet that by the end of the day, the guys and gals who do that type of work are all tuckered out, at least mentally. It doesn’t seem fair to compare working at NASA with watching TV or scrolling on your phone but in my completely unscientific opinion, watching TV or using a screen involves processing a lot of information, perhaps more information than what we were designed to handle all at once.

Everything on a screen moves faster than it does in real life. Camera angles in movies switch faster than we can turn our heads around. We can scroll faster than we can turn the pages in a book, magazine or newspaper. Even typing and texting is faster than handwriting things. I think our brains are meant to gather, prune, and process information as fast as possible because, in prehistoric times, our survival depended on it. But in modern times, with information overload and when screens move so fast, our brain just can’t keep up and it gets worn out fairly quickly.

Or at least that’s how I think things work in my brain.

Let me know if you think your brain works the same way (or if you think my brain is just broken).

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