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My Unique Way of Managing Screen-Time and Mental Wellness

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

This is a bit off the beaten track when it comes to my typical blog posts on here but I wanted to share this with you.

As I grow my level of awareness, connecting what I 'do' with my emotions, I feel more equipped to manage my addictions to 'doing' which in turn may help me to move forward towards my slow living life style goals -a life style where I live in the present and feel connected.

What I mean by my 'doings' are the numerous activities scattered over the day which do not add anything positive to my life and are simply a distraction - a way to avoid certain feelings.

My big 'doing' issue is, as is so common, related to my screen time, especially on my phone.

My screen time is approx 4.5 hours per day. This is very worrying for me. That is not slow living to me in its authentic sense. It's wasting my life. It's being totally ungrateful for the opportunities I have in my life now. It's living like a zombie and hugely limits my opportunities for presence in my life and connection to myself and others.

This level of screen-time has hugely negative implications for my mental health. I notice my anxiety levels rise and feelings of enjoyment dissipate. Too much screen-time makes me feel unhappy and also reduces the level of physical care - how much I get out and about walking in nature and the quality of my exercise and the focus in my yoga practice are all affected.

None the less, I am fully aware of the benefits of reducing screen-time and other mindless 'doings' as are you. I'm also fully aware of the reasons I may be turning to such activities. Other activities which may resonate more with others may include things like over-eating or over-spending.

I think I figured a way to catch myself in this loop of spending too much time on my phone. I sensed the emotional trigger sensation in my body. For the first time, I sensed how it felt in my body at that moment just before grabbing my phone and mindlessly 'doing' - mindlessly being on my phone.

It's such a mild sensation, especially when I first started sensing it, that no wonder I've shown no awareness to it before. It's like a cloud of fear coming out from my chest area. It sort of rises up out of nowhere and for absolutely no particular reason that I can figure out. It's so fast and pulsating, I can only imagine it's some sort of hormone response in my body to take immediate action.

The second I pick up my phone, this feeling disappears. A sort of numbness takes over, a feeling of numbness, yet a feeling of safety.

I was so pleased when I first made this connection. Knowing the importance and the power of breath, I intuitively knew that I should try to breathe through this sensation, without taking impulsive action to the triggering feeling.

Simply one or two breaths and I was able over-ride it. The feeling to unlock my phone subsided as fast as it came.

I feel really good that I've made this link though it's something that I need to keep on remind myself of - that I need to stay aware of this feeling before the urge takes place. Soon after discovering this connection between bodily feeling and action to pick up the phone, I managed to register two significantly lower than usual screen-time days.

I must admit I often go back to my high screen time again as my motivation to maintain this awareness waned, though I often come back to it and bring it under control.

The purpose of this blog is to write about it and then act on the behaviours that will help me, and maybe even help you. I will endeavour to remain aware of this connection again in order to lead to further reductions in my screen time and other unhealthy actions.

Giving it another go today, with awareness to feel way below the feeling surface of the body, to access that discomfort and to comfort it with breath, to be with it, to recognise it, to feel it and to let it move and eventually dissolve with the resulting action that I do not even pick up my phone.

I wonder what further benefits this could have for me, if I connect with the uncomfortable feelings for longer periods. The thought of how powerful this could be is motivating.

This is, after all, the only way I'll access authentic slow, mindful and present living, as until now I've been fighting against an invisible internal force, that I've only just knowingly encountered. I'm only now able to resist it as long as I stay aware and 'awake' enough to do so. Only now as I able to realise I've been under the surface of control by this unconscious powerful force for so long - I can finally rise above it.

Please write in the comments any connections you've made with body and action, especially any which wouldn't be immediately obvious. Please share any experiences you have had that may resonate with this. Thank you!



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