The image of a sad, lonely individual almost tied to their computer for 18 hours a day and making money from some Californian bedroom is great if you are from the Daily Mail and want to bash the Internet generation. But in reality, it seems that such people are most unlikely to be able to make any money online at all, because their brains are literally shutting down. Sadly for the Daily Mail’s editors, it is not the computer or the Internet that is causing the problem.
New research has found that our brains start shutting down the connections we have built up simply when we are sedentary. Much of our ability to think or to solve problems comes from the complex web of interconnectivity between all the different regions and operating centres of our brain. This is achieved with a neural connection system known as the “Default Mode Network” (DMN). But the new study from researchers at the University of Illinois has found that when we slow down and do less physical activity it is the DMN which starts switching off. The very system which our brains use to make us really brilliant as people is the very system which disappears first when we “give up”. It seems that this may well be one of the reasons for the symptoms of many psychological illnesses of old age – our brains stop working so well simply because we slow down physically.
Many business people I meet complain they don’t get time to move much – they say they are “chained to their desks”. Well, actually they aren’t. Tying people up in chains and forcing them to work came to an end in Britain in 1807. Nowadays, you are free to move around…! So, when it comes to trying to find the right way to create a new money-making website and you are stuck for ideas – take a walk. When you are confused by the plethora of social networks – move away from your computer, perhaps go for a swim. And when you simply can’t face answering any more emails, why, rush out of the house and jog your way around the park.
This new study confirms that the merest trickle of physical activity will set that Default Mode Network back into action, enabling you to think more clearly and to work out solutions to your business problems. Sometimes, the answer to creating that new website does not lie inside your PC or on the net – rather the answer is already in your own brain, but you need to start moving to connect it all up.
There is another psychological advantage to physical movement as well; depression and anxiety are relieved by physical activity. So if work is getting you down, a walk is often all you need to cure your ills.
When you find it tough to run your online business, the answer is simple. Switch off your PC and go for a walk. When you return to your desk, those re-built networks in your brain will have found the solution – and, bonus, you’ll feel good as well. Plus the chances are you’ll find a way of making more money than those sedentary youngsters in their Californian boudoirs..!
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+