This is your brain on Instagram

Remember when we used to get all our information from books?

My, how times have changed.

And while I stand by my belief that we’re living in the most exciting age in history, it’s important to consider how the tech revolution might be affecting you – especially in the larger context of fifty thousand years of human evolution.

The problem is what I call *Instagram crack.*

It’s the modern era dominion of the image or video over the written word.

And it violates a principle of neuroscience known as integration.

Integration says that our brains have evolved to operate best when the right and left hemispheres are allowed to function as they’re intended – and in harmony with each other.

What does this have to do with your fitness program?

I’ll explain…

You see, awareness of the body, images, emotions, and autobiographical recall are the domain of the right brain.  Logic, words, lists and sequences, on the other hand, pertain more to the workings of the left brain.

The preeminence of the visual means a lot of images, be they online, or in Men’s Health – or worse, Cosmo [shudder] – bypass your rational thinking and plant themselves directly in your experiential memory.

This goes way deeper than body-image issues.

It’s a stealth assault on your very humanity.

One consequence is that most people’s expectations of a given diet, workout program, or supplement are…how shall I put this?

A bit coo coo for cocoa puffs.

(Exhibit A: people sometimes bring me magazine photos as examples of what they want to look like.  In one instance, I told the guy flat out, “you will never look like that.  The second you accept it and move on, your life will immediately improve.”  He didn’t agree, and guess what?  He still doesn’t look like the picture, and he’s even more miserable about it!)

This is also why ab machines in TV infomercials sell so well, by the way.  Your logic says “that can’t be right”, but the other part of you says “crack, baby!  Craaaack!!”

The point is, it’s hard to inspire right-thinking in health and exercise habits when you’re fighting an unseen opponent.

And Instagram crack, like other forms of crack, presents a dilemma.

The dilemma is it feels good.  Real good.

It instantly gratifies.  BOOM!  Straight to reward center of the brain.  No need to arduously decode a bunch of words, or sequences of words.  No effort.  It’s easy.

Why should you care?

Because the integrated brain is proactive vs. reactive.   It discerns opportunities to do well instead of obstacles to happiness.  This applies no less to how you are in relation to your fitness program.  With integration there’s flow.  It doesn’t feel like a grind.

In fact, it’s natural to succeed.

To protect yourself from the Instagram crack lurking on every open tab in your web browser, el numero uno is education.  The more informed you are about your health, the less susceptible you’ll be to the litany of crack-peddlers currently stalking popular media like the internet, television, and magazines.

Read books (I’ll recommend a few).

Attend workshops (I’ve got several coming up).

Then consciously apply the filter of education to whatever eye-candy presents itself.

Let it pass through your logical brain.  Does this make sense to me?  Analyze more.  Be more deliberate about how you take in information.  As a general way of being, it makes it easier to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

I’ve got lots more to share about the brain – and specifically how to use what we know about this powerful tool to live a healthier, happier, and more complete life.

This, and more,  I’ll divulge in a soothing morphine drip over the coming weeks and months.

And if one email was enough to get you hooked on my own brand of narcotic…then by all means, call or text me for your complimentary personal training consultation (416.826.4844).

I am a benevolent dealer… a kind dealer – I sell only integration.

To Your Brain,

Conor Kelly

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