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Anne Reuss

Going Primal in Our Digital World

By: Anne Reuss | May 7, 2013 | 
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Going Primal in Our Digital WorldWhen Lindsay Bell asked me to guest blog, I was pumped.

I asked her “What topic?” She said, “Anything. Write it from the heart.”

I was initially stumped for a personally passionate fit for a PR and marketing blog.

But there is something.

My psychological well-being has become a priority in the last few months.

The online business and our digital world has a tendency to throw things out of balance. I’ve gone primal as a health initiative to address the psychological challenges of the cascade of technology in the social media world.

And yes I’m talking about adopting some of the traits that kept our cave ancestors (Grok) alive and well! I realize modern society’s conveniences and innovation has lessened the physical burden on folks.

So how does one go primal in today’s world?

What’s Your Primal Balance?

For me it means intentionally avoiding some “socializing” online,  so I can nurture my psychological well being with movement and exertion supplemented with a robust primal (Paleo) diet. When I take that time away from media, I find myself less antsy and more focused.  I move more frequently and make my physical fitness a priority.

I chow down protein four to five times a day. With this new balance of attention, I’ve seen spikes in my creativity and energy. Maybe the practice is self-indulgent, but I think such habits promote good health and work productivity. I believe banter, organic conversation, and social media are stimulating, and I thrive on them. But since I’ve struck my “primal” balance, I find myself more alert with stimulating psychological vitality.

Mind and Body

Mind and body should be in sync. If your body is immobile, your mind probably misses out on some extra exercise. Our ancestors survived on the move, hunting for meat and gathering plants, fruits, indigenous nuts, and seeds. When we take in more protein, we are able to consistently burn fat for energy. Take in more carbs, and you spike your insulin and end up feeling sluggish or randomly crashing during the day.

In the time of the caveman, physical movement was common throughout the day at low levels – but at times physical exertion was high intensity (chasing animals, lifting, etc) and they soaked up vital Vitamin D from the outdoor activity, only sleeping when necessary.

Tough to do these Grok practices if we need to be at the computer. I wonder if it was our primal instinct that lead to the creation of tablets and smartphones? Maybe it’s because people NEED to be mobile. Heck, maybe even the Vine app feeds that desire subconsciously.

My point – humans are instinctively mobile.

Go Grok!

I believe, for the sake of well-being, we should gratify ourselves with some Grok practices. I’m reading Red Thread Thinking – Weaving Together Connections for Brilliant Ideas & Profitable Innovation, and it points out killer research that aligns with going primal. The book cites studies that state REM sleep, and lingering in your bed in a half-awake state, connects bits of information for our brains to process.

Exercise has also proven to result in a mad elevation of cognitive performance. RTT also points to a study, published in the Creativity Research Journal, by Blanchette and Ramocki. It examined creativity immediately following moderate aerobic exercise and again two hours later. Result? There was a creativity surge in the participants. The two hour lag time did not decrease the creative levels either.

Our Digital World

When I was younger and in college, I highly valued sleeping in. So much so, I never took a class that started earlier than 9:30 a.m. But even with an abnormal intake of carbs (elbow nudge), and an unstable diet and irregular physical activity affecting my morning energy, I managed to fly through.

But…when I started working from home after college and had more freedom, this became a real issue. I would get tired sporadically throughout the day or have a harder time waking up. I didn’t expect to get so intimate with my Mac and I thought whole grain cereal would give me lasting energy. I only ‘worked out’ with my own body weight and my computer by my side. Productivity was unpredictable.

When I started going Grok-ish, things changed. Now I am working/writing in a more energized and alert manner. I still like to write my ideas at night but I wake up earlier with less struggle to develop them further. I do 15 minute high intensity workouts at different locations or go for a walk when my heart and mind prompts me.

We can mimic our ancestor’s behaviors in the context of our digital world and become more creative, alert, and productive. I recently bought a mini iPad partly to improve mobility. I’m happy to say I’m on much better terms with myself – and my Mac.

What do you think? Do you incorporate regular, daily exercise into your routines? Have you tried going Paleo? Notice any changes in brainpower?

About Anne Reuss


Addicted to adrenaline, adventures, brewing beer, and social media, Anne definitely needs to be fueled by coffee and fitness. If you have a mad cool tech product or offering, let her know and she’ll make a video about it. Being Deaf, she has super human listening skills and is constantly looking for ways to leverage social media to improve all around communication. She is a community manager for 360Connext, a customer experience consulting firm, and a freelance writer. She can lipread, but tweets first are greatly appreciated @AnneReuss.

17 comments
Word Ninja
Word Ninja

Wow, how did I miss this post? For me, going primal involves working in my small suburban condo garden. Really clears the head of noise, feeds the body once the tomatoes grow, and empowers the inner caveman...woman...person.

dbvickery
dbvickery

Outstanding post, Anne. It seems like there are a lot more success stories - than failures - when people actually stick to the regimen you describe.

I'm nowhere near that disciplined, but I've gone "mostly Paleo"...and my alcohol intake is primarily red wine. I saw big physical improvements when I cut gluten, dairy, and sugar. I do like the Whey protein...and umm, I love a good steak! I've dropped about 16lbs since the beginning of the year.

As for exercise, I play tennis at least three times per week and try to hit the gym 3x/week, also. I need the exercise more for the sanity (I lift...so that you may live) than the weight loss.

belllindsay
belllindsay

Love this @AnneReuss - I'm such a geek about how who we WERE is actually who we should be at the present - that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution can't be wrong! We were built to move - not sit idle all day. But we were also built to thrive in tribes. Interesting conundrum in today's wired/social world. I should take more walks while chatting on FB on my IPhone I guess! LOL 

KathrynAMunoz
KathrynAMunoz

Anne,

I subscribed via SpinSucksPro and now my Facebook page is getting full of posts from you.  Would you please turn that OFF!
Kathryn A Munoz of Redmond, WA

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

Anne, first...so good to see you here! Yay! Secondly, I'm a big believer in what you talk about here. We have a Get Up and Moving contest at work to get people away from their desks in the middle of the day. And, starting on May 1, everyone has an UP band so we can track number of steps taken each day. The goal for each of us is 10,000 so anyone who exceeds that competes for a quarterly prize. I've found everyone to be more productive and happy when they do this.

AnneReuss
AnneReuss

@Word Ninja Sounds delish!! I don't have the space for a garden right now but when I do....my fellow inner cave...person will be very happy ;-) Thanks for jumping in! 

AnneReuss
AnneReuss

@dbvickery STEAK! Yumm. I'm loosely paleo too and I haven't given up craft beer. It's national craft beer week, by the way. Hooray! 

"I lift so you may live"....I will be quoting you for some time now ;-) 

AnneReuss
AnneReuss

Maybe you could get a google glass then you can achieve more mobility and remain connected! I can't believe I said that though. Dang google glass. 

AnneReuss
AnneReuss

@ginidietrich First, epic! Your team is lucky to have an enlightened leader to see the value  - and I'm lucky I can escape to get primal and pound my chest during the day if I need to. ;-) Second - thanks for letting me share this!

Grooook!

AnneReuss
AnneReuss

@dbvickery Revolution and Two Brothers brewery have some good cans! Gotta love Illinois hmm

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  1. […] and professionally. What I accomplish in the gym leaves with me and into my work (see how exercise gives you brainpower in the digital world), so it was important for me to find an activity that would keep my adrenaline flowing. I knew I […]

  2. […] we should gratify ourselves with some Grok practices. One of my favorite business books of 2013 – Red Thread Thinking – Weaving Together Connections for Brilliant Ideas & Profitable Innovation – points […]