Cut down your ‘screen time’

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michellegriceDo you have digital overload?

Those of us who are parents have most likely read an article or heard from experts about the dangers of our children having too much ‘screen time’.

Many of us have changed their children’s habits and put strategies in place to ensure that screen time is limited. But have you done the same for yourself?

Although most of us are not spending hours playing ‘mindless’ games or staring inactively at screens, our days are often spent viewing many types of information.

Social media, podcasts, emails, videos, news feeds and so on, can overload our brains, to the point where we are distracted, irritable and constantly tired.

Research tells us that the promise of new information triggers the release of dopamine, which in turn makes us more alert to the possibility of more pleasure, creating a cycle that lays new neural pathways.

That is, our brain has been taught to keep seeking out this ‘pleasure’.

In contrast, many of us rarely open a book for pleasure during work periods.

And when we do, we find it hard to slow down long enough to concentrate on what we are reading.

For myself, holiday times are when I catch up on my reading when there are no other distractions vying for my attention. But reading books may just be the antidote to our fast-paced information seeking.

While books can help us to unplug from the unrelenting flow of digital information, it also takes discipline to change our digital habits.

Few of us actually need to answer emails at night, so set a time after which you don’t check your phone or computer (in fact, turn them all off).

Commit to at least two or three nights of no TV before bedtime, and read a book instead.

And most importantly, never have your phone in your bedroom at night. This removes any temptation to check emails or social media at 3am!

Undertaking these changes is likely to reduce your stress levels and increase your energy levels.

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