8 worthwhile tips to help reduce your screen time
Bill Gates does it, so why shouldn’t you?
A current buzz across society today is the pressing need to consciously and actively reduce the amount of time we spend on our devices – screen time.
When we engage with social media and are in constant ‘connection’, what we are often unconsciously searching for, is a hit of the chemical dopamine. This ‘feel-good hormone’ can be released when our phone goes ‘ping’ to alert us to a friend / acquaintance ‘liking’ something. The more time we spend in this digital world, the more we seek the release of that highly addictive feel-good hormone, often resulting in practising less the skill set of developing real, deep and meaningful relationships.
Matthew Johnstone, author, illustrator and public speaker advocating the art of building resilience and good quality mental health, comments: “I sometimes think the more ‘connected’ we’ve become, the more isolated we are. I think constantly seeing others’ food, holidays, parties, puppies – can make us feel ‘less’. When we post something, we are subconsciously seeking others feedback or approval. When we don’t get that adulation or recognition, that could also impact our self esteem.”
Studies have already shown that those who spend more time on social media have higher rates of depression. This is in part because our devices are immediate; if we wish to purchase something, we can, we do, and it arrives this week. Instant gratification is a theme of our world today, therefore learning patience and developing a mindset of hard work and application to our relationships and our careers can simply feel too difficult (because there is always something at our fingertips to distract already waning attention).
Johnstone adds: “I know that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates allowed very little tech in the house for kids – which should have been very telling.”
It’s perfectly normal, healthy and acceptable to utilise a device, let’s face it, they have made our world more accessible and amazing, but the idea of balance in their use is becoming glaringly necessary. Some alcohol is OK, too much alcohol is dangerous to your health. Some device use is healthy and perhaps even necessary, but too much, research is telling us, can be dangerous to your health.
Here are our top 8 tips to consciously reducing screen time:
- Eat all meals without your phone on the table or within earshot
- Have a basket at the front door and place all devices in the basket when you arrive home
- Set up a window of time to use your device at home then turn it off
- Go outside and walk, garden, sit, meditate, hug or run (without the phone)
- Leave your phone in your desk drawer at work, check it at lunch time if you feel the desire
- Charge the phone overnight in the kitchen rather than sleeping with it next to you (you can still purchase alarm clocks!)
- Track your usage and monitor screen time – enlightening! Then make a conscious effort to reduce it over a week
- Matthew uses an app called Our Pact with his family to help give parents some control and kids some respite from technology
Article by: Melissa Ingram & Jaye Hoelscher
Clinical Health Services Manager
Head of Guest Experience
Matthew Johnstone is a regular guest speaker of Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat and Spa