Can you get addicted to being alone?
Am I addicted to podcasts because I am afraid of being alone with my thoughts?
My worst fear has come true. My bike had a flat tire and I had to push it home. Not that dramatic in itself, but then I saw that my headphones had run out of batteries. Oh shit. And now? I usually throw in a podcast whenever I have to run for more than 30 seconds. It was half an hour's walk to my apartment ... How could I survive 30 minutes of silence? What should I think about? And then suddenly I realized: I had absolutely no desire to think at all.
I've turned into a real podcast fanatic. I hear them walking. I hear them brush their teeth. I even hear them taking out the trash! I wish for weekends when no new episodes come outnearlythat it is finally Monday. AsMy Dad Wrote a Porno, my laugh-until-you-get-strangely-watched-by-the-other-passengers-feel-good-podcast-podcast, at the beginning of the year ended a season, I got this feeling of emptiness that you feel when your best friend says she is moving abroad.
I used to be able to daydream for hours - as a look at my old school reports immediately reveals. But now the thought of just looking out the window and thinking about God and the world really scares me. I need distraction all the time. And thanks to the podcasts on my smartphone, I get themusually whatever.
According to an Ofcom study, the number of podcast listeners (around half of whom are under 35) has doubled since 2013. Are all these people, like me, inexplicably afraid of being alone with their thoughts? “I listen to podcasts so I don't think too much about simple tasks like washing up, washing clothes, or showering,” says Charley, 27. “When I broke up with my boyfriend a few months ago, I spent an entire week doing it spent listening to podcasts so my mind wouldn't wander back to him. " Katie, 26, feels the same way. She uses podcasts to distract herself from her feelings. “My grandma recently passed away and I was listening to podcasts to escape my grief,” she says. “I found it hard to relax at night so I got inDesert Island Discs fallen. "
My own addiction to podcasts is always more severe when I'm not feeling well. They keep me from pointless brooding. Coach and consultant Sally Brown thinks podcasts are irresistible to millennial minds. "A lot of millennials think too much about everything," says Brown, explaining that podcasts break the spiral of thought. They're like a leash for thoughts that keep drifting away - something you can focus on so you don't fall into brooding.
An increasing number of millennials are suffering from anxiety disorders. So it's hardly surprising that we are drawn to a medium that promises constant distraction and is available at all times.
Catherine is one of those affected. She feels like podcasts are reducing her symptoms. "There are certain podcasts that act like a sedative when I'm stressed," said the 37-year-old. “There are a few podcast presenters I particularly enjoy listening to because their voices are soothing to me. I also suffer from insomnia and sometimes I use podcasts to help me fall asleep better. "
But as helpful as podcasts may be, there will always be times when we can't hear them - like on the fateful day of my flat tire. And if you're practically addicted to them, these are the sticky situations. “I feel uncomfortable all work day when I feel the need to listen to a podcast to relax but can't do it,” says Charley. “I'm afraid the silence could lead to anxious or overemotional thoughts that are anything but helpful.” Catherine feels the same way: “If I forget my headphones, I buy new ones on the way because I get nervous if I don't with me, ”she admits. “Because of my anxiety disorder, prolonged periods of silence can lead to disturbing thoughts.
Recently my friend took me to a concert of instrumental music that practically didn't speak at all. When the lights went out and the first tones began, I felt the panic spreading inside me. I knew I had no choice but to let my mind wander. It was extremely uncomfortable at first, but at some point I began to relax - and my thoughts began to flow with the music. It was almost mesmerizing. I no longer had any sense of time and was amazed that I actually managed to just sit there for so long and reflect on my thoughts - without any compulsion. After the concert I felt surprisingly full of energy. "
Sally Brown believes experiences like this are incredibly important. She says filling our heads with someone else's voice makes us stop hearing our own voice. If you are not aware of your automatic thought patterns, you may sometimes feel down, but you don't really know why. It is therefore advisable to pause for a moment from time to time, because then the self-talk begins in the head. Of course, they can also bring negative, unhealthy thoughts with them. But this is the only way we get the chance to say goodbye to them in the first place - by drawing our attention to the present, says Brown.
So maybe it is time we made friends with our inner monologues again. For me personally, this means that I am in the process of learning to appreciate the quiet moments and accept the thoughts that pop up in my head. I will certainly not say goodbye to podcasts completely soon, but I try to take a short walk through the park every day - without headphones. And I started doing yoga, which is great because it takes all of my attention for a short time. Then there are no distractions and I am completely in the here and now. Okay okay Now and then I think about where it comes fromlooking down dog actually has its name or whether all beginners are as terribly immobile as I am. But that's okay. As it turns out, my thoughts aren't as scary as I thought they are.
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