In previous months, we talked about identifying digital addiction and bringing awareness to how it manifests. Today we talk about what resources are available to us. While it may be near impossible to entirely “quit” our screens (as you might in recovery from other addictions) there are some real action steps you can take to both gain awareness of the problem and to moderate use.
Learn more about the problem. Watch documentaries like The Minimalists; Less is Now and The Social Dilemma. The former is about intentional living and the latter helps gain perspective on the ways associated companies are manipulating addictive behaviour via screens.
If you feel things have become unmanageable (not getting enough sleep due to digital addiction or a constant urge to check apps even though it is negatively impacting your connection to friends or family) you might want to check out a 12 step Internet and Technology group such as Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous.
Lastly, consider your specific personal struggles. Where is the emotional pain in your life? Perhaps you suffer from catastrophic thinking, or negative body image, or toxic masculinity? Consider the harmful messages you are feeding yourself through your screen. We are molded by these messages. Try to minimize the media messages that contribute to your struggles and add in more diverse and restorative messages that may help you live a more balanced life.
Our health and well being is worth the exploration. Now more than ever before our society travels further into some version of a digital zombie apocalypse. As discussed in steps 1 and 2, movements around this kind of recovery are growing. With some real willingness, intentionality and support I believe we can offset the damage chronic digital use is doing to our bodies and minds and relationships.
Lisa Coppola, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist who brings many years of clinical and community experience to sessions through her work in the field of mental health and dual diagnosis. She strongly believes in the strength and change that comes from getting in deeper touch with our creativity, exploring the authenticity within ourselves, and investigating the narratives that culture may have imposed onto us collectively and as individuals.