During National Psychology Week 12-18th November 2017
This week is National Psychology Week, an initiative of the Australian Psychological Society, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of mental health and the role a psychologist can play in improving wellbeing and happiness. This year’s campaign focuses on ‘thriving in the digital age’ a pertinent issue affecting people of all ages from all walks of life.
If ‘all things in moderation’ is your life mantra then this article will serve you no good because when it comes to your digital gadgets, you will have things completely under wraps. If, however, you are like the vast majority of us and have develop a slightly un-natural obsession with your phone, ipad, laptop, fitbit or other amazingly smart devices, it might be time for a digital cleanse.
Write down what you would like to achieve from your cleanse. Think of what you’d aim for it was a physical cleanse and then relate this to your emotional and psychological wellbeing. Would you like to be more present, less anxious, less dependent on your device or more sociable with your partner? Perhaps there is also an overlap into the physical, for example, improved sleep or more time for exercise.
Once you have set your goals, the next step is to set some boundaries around times spent on devices vs offline. According to Business Insider, 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their phones. Not only does this promote unhealthy sleeping habits, when the sun rises, it is all too enticing to greet your phone before your partner.
Share it! Sharing what you’d like to achieve with your partner and friends (even if its via social media) makes you more likely to commit and follow through. They can also offer support if you are slipping up and engaging with your device more than you set out to.
Replace the habit Like any habit you are trying to break, replacing the undesired behaviour with a healthier habit, will make it easier to find something to do with your hands and time. Eating or drinking is not recommended as you may end up needing a physical cleanse after your digital cleanse! Aim to do something that will help you reach the goals you have set. For example, if improve memory is your goal, choose a cross word or sudoku (the printed variety) instead of Facebook scrolling. Or if you have kids, replace the time spent on your phone by reading them a book or engaging in play.
Commit and Go! Set a start date and go! Unlike physical cleanses, there need not be a finish date. You might even find your newfound lease on ‘real time’ reaps enough reward that this becomes your new norm.
If you are struggling with digital addiction or would like some advice on improving your wellbeing, our team of psychologists are committed to helping you on your journey to wellness.
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