Gimme A Break

August 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

Prisca writes,

 I wanted to ask how I should take a break from my fandom. I love my fandom (1D), and I love going on Tumblr and being showered with funny posts that make my day. But lately I’ve been a little overwhelmed with everything that’s going on. Most people on Tumblr freak out when crazy news pops up. They cry and say, “This is too much. This is why I get no sleep.” I hate when people get too attached to them as if we own them. 

I think I should take a small break like I did last year for about 2 months. I think I’ll just leave for one month this time, but I don’t want to miss out on the thing that makes me laugh the most on a day to day basis. I know school is coming up on the first and I’ll be busy, but I really love being on Tumblr. I don’t know if I should take a break now and cut it cold turkey or if I should wait for a good time during the school year, or for a whole semester.

I just wanted to ask when you think I should stop and if maybe I’ll feel better after the drama cools over. I just need to chill for a moment but I don’t want to miss out. What do you think the problem is/when should I take the break? Thank you.

Prisca! Thank you for asking such a wonderful question. The cold turkey question is one I come up against again and again as a fangirl. I can’t tell you how many times people type “how do I stop fangirling” into Google every day. No literally, I can’t. GEEZ GOOGLE.

In the field of addiction, there’s a huge debate about whether helping someone with an alcohol problem means helping them stop drinking all together (aka sobriety), or reducing their drinking (aka harm reduction). While fangirling is nowhere near as serious as a drinking problem, our brains can still get stuck in that pattern of needing that dopamine to keep us happy. So rather than pulling out the rug from under our feels, you have to learn to train your brain to think differently about One Direction.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how to keep your brain healthy and insightful. In Mindsight, Dr. Dan Siegel talks about how in order to have good mental health, we have to encourage neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is a fancy laidbackword for how your brain builds new connections between neurons. The more connections there are, the more your mind is equipped to deal with the rough stuff. Even the drama of fandom! People will continue to freak out, but you won’t have to hit that panic button. You’ll just be chillin, Prisca.

So to be a more chill fangirl, you need neuroplasticity. How do you get it? Siegel says there are 3 basic ways:

  1. Exercise – More than any mental exercise, physical exercise benefits your brain the most. So being active is super important. Your butt should be moving and not forever planted in front of your computer on Tumblr.
  2. Novelty – Your fangirl brain needs to be exposed to new experiences and thoughts. So if you’re stuck on the same ship, the same fic, and the same Internet conversations, your brain becomes more rigid or chaotic in stressful situations. Visit a museum, read a new book, or take a class and learn how to do something new. Novelty is golden.
  3. Emotional Arousal – is the fangirl’s middle name. Yeah, I think we’ve got this one covered. Siegel says that engaging our emotions helps our brain form new connections. But don’t limit your emotional involvement to just two fictional idiots who haven’t kissed yet! Or in your case, the same 1D member’s personal drama. Find other causes and real life stories that ignite your passion.

So Prisca, yes hopping up and down in front of the TV with creys about a new ship covers these 3 basics. But the more creative you can be with building neuroplasticity, the less the fandom drama will bug you. You’ll be able to enjoy 1D without feeling emotionally sucked into the latest news.

Whether that means taking a break or not is up to you! If you’re adding some new experiences and interests to your daily routine, fangirling should be less of a chore and more of a treat. Flex your brain, and you’ll be ready for anything.

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