Updated: Oct 13, 2020
These days it’s a rare person who does not have some form of screen addiction: whether to reading the news incessantly, or surfing social media, or something else, we’re all out there… Searching… I do it myself- I like to look at pictures so my screen addiction usually includes Instagram and Pinterest. In late nights when I find myself scrolling-scrolling-scrolling, not really being present with what I’m seeing very intentionally, but just incessantly scrolling, almost with a twinge of anxiety.
I realized at one point that I am indeed searching for something. So I began to ask myself as I scrolled, ”what am I searching for? What am I missing right now that I has me on here doing this? What’s wrong with me right now?!” When I first began to ask myself this, it was a big fat I don’t know as my response, and I truly didn’t know what I was doing, why I was doing it, and more importantly, why I could not make myself stop, even though I was extremely tired and ready for bed.
As I caught myself more and more in this state, and began asking myself, just as incessantly as I was scrolling, why I was doing it, some new answers began to show up. Some nights I was searching for connection. Some nights I was searching for meaning. Other nights I was searching for inspiration, or something positive to grasp onto. Something to give me hope in the midst of our world’s chaos that things would be ok when I woke up in the morning. Now I have something to work with!
How do we make it stop? I think searching within for these things (connection, meaning, inspiration, hope) is one way. We are trained in so many ways to search outside of ourselves constantly. But going within is much more sustainable, and yields much richer results. But it’s active, and scrolling is passive, so yes, it will take some self-discipline and dedication to make this shift. This is whee dedication to a spiritual practice or spiritual teaching is incredibly helpful.
And, of course, working with a therapist to explore what connection means to you, how you find meaning in life, and what brings you inspiration or gives you hope. If you're an HSP, having deep conversations with loved ones about these themes could be rewarding on many levels. If you're an introvert, journaling with these questions could be a great start.
Here's some logistical tips for limited your screen time:
1. Keep your phone out of your bedroom-at all times, or at least at bedtime. Let the last thing you do before sleeping and the first thing you do upon waking be connecting to yourself or the people you live with rather than checking social media or news.
2. Set time limits for yourself when you do read the news, scroll social media or watch videos. And stick to it!
3. Know your purpose for the scrolling before you start, and stick to it! Searching for one piece of information? Put the phone down or close the app once you find it!
Want to know more? Here's an article I found about how smartphone addiction could be changing your brain.