The modern business person is often isolated, working in front of their computer for hours on end. Even if they work in an office, it’s often in a “cubicle” where the communication to the person next to them is via email, text message or Twitter. And small business owners are spending more time sitting at their computer because they need to maintain their website, answer emails, check in to social networking sites and research their marketplace. We’ve all gone computer mad.
And therein lies a problem. It is changing our brains. Two new research studies on people with dementia clearly show that exercise and physical activity help prevent “cognitive impairment”. In other words, lack of physical activity stops your brain working effectively. Sitting for hours on end with little activity makes you less able to think your way through business problems and work out what to do in a particular situation.
Do you have trouble thinking of ideas for your blog? Could be you’d be more creative if you got regular physical activity. Stuck on which web site hosting company to really opt for? Again, more exercise could be the answer. And are you wondering, yet again, how Twitter can help your business? Yes, you’ve guessed it, your brain could work that out if you had more physical activity in your life.
There’s another issue associated with long-term computer use as well – headaches. The muscular tension associated with focusing your eyes on a fairly fixed distance for hours on end produces head pain. Breaks away from your computer will solve that. Computers also produce positive ions in the atmosphere which reduce our cognitive performance as well, meaning when we sit at our computers running our web empires, we are doubly affecting our brains; lack of exercise and being surrounded by positive ions has a real impact on our mood and our ability to think. Is it any wonder so many people get annoyed and frustrated and confused by much of the Internet? It’s not the Internet that’s the problem, it’s their stifled brains.
Here are some solutions you can use.
- Get an air ioniser. Negative ion generators will improve the air quality on a room with computers (as long as the door and windows are shut – otherwise you will be trying to ionise the world…!).
- Take regular breaks. If you need a reminder to move away from your computer, get a reminder alarm that will beep you every 45 minutes to go away…!
- Plan more physical activity. Simple thinks like getting off the tube a stop early and walking the rest of the way, or cycling to the local shop instead of using the car, or using stairs instead of the lift, will all help.
- Move your phone to another room. When it rings, you have to get up from your computer and you have to move; a double whammy.
Whatever you do, if you do something that breaks you free from your computer for even half an hour a day you will find your brain improves. Your thinking and your mood will alter. And that means your attitude to your online business and to blogging or social networking will also alter. You will find them much easier and much more interesting.
Clearly, the biggest improvement you can make to your online world is to become more active in the offline one you are currently sitting in. Get up..! Go Away…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+