Written by Julianne Sack, 2023 Let Go & Grow Summer Intern
Edited by The LG&G Team
In an era dominated by technological advancements and digital connectivity, screens have become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it’s smartphones, tablets, laptops, or televisions- screens surround us, shaping our interactions, productivity, and leisure activities. Seeing everyone else around you engulfed by their phones and social media can make it really difficult to not want to do it yourself. In this article, I will dive into the intricate relationship between screen time and mental well-being, shedding light on its potential effects and raising awareness about maintaining a healthy digital balance.
The prevalence of screens in our lives is undeniable. From social media platforms to video streaming services, online gaming, and endless information at our fingertips, screens have revolutionized how we perceive and engage with the world. Through this, it is hard not to become dependent on our devices… but what is it that we are looking for?
It is essential that we try our best to stay in the present and focus on what is happening right in front of us, not in the screen. In Dr. Brooke Stuart’s article titled “On Social Media, Mindfulness, and Breaking addictive Patterns,” she mentions this method that states, “…if we identify that there is an issue with validation, creating addictive circuits, we can then build an affirmation to release this issue and affirm the truth-that you are valuable. “I come first. I choose me. I value myself. Boundaries are a part of loving myself.” These affirmations can allow us to reel ourselves back into the present and realize our smartphones or social media is an escape from the present if we do not set limitations.
Increased Risk of Addiction
Spending excessive time in front of screens can lead to addictive behaviors. I would have never thought that I could be addicted to my phone because it is something that I thought I did not put that much importance to, or so I thought. One day I stumbled across a video talking about addictive behaviors and what they had mentioned was that anything that gives you a sort of relief or satisfaction and it is in your eyes, the only way to satisfy this urge, then you are addicted to it. I remember thinking that everyday when I got home all I wanted to do was watch TikTok, and when I did, I felt so relieved after doing so. This is when I realized it was probably best for me to spend my time doing something more beneficial with my time instead of mindlessly scrolling.
It is not necessarily bad to want relief, but it is just that we can find relief in many things that are healthier. You can choose to lean into and think through anything that enters your field of awareness with the growth that you have attained and the heightened perspective that comes with it. This self-sourcing approach allows you to connect without getting caught up, so you break it down to identify any issues at play, the essence desired, and the ways in which solutions can form.
Self-Isolation and Loneliness
Excessive screen time can sometimes contribute to social isolation and feelings of loneliness. I have noticed that many of us tend to dissociate and have decreased our attention spans a lot when we go on our phones too much- especially when we are with other people. It is almost a norm for me now to wait until someone is off of their phone so that I know they are actually listening to me and recognizing the conversation.
I believe one of the main catalysts for Generation Z’s ‘anxiety epidemic’ has been due to the overuse/ill-use of social media. Comparing oneself to others’ curated online lives can be really hard to draw away from. As a young person in today’s society, I am constantly asked why I do not have Instagram or most platforms of social media and I think truly it just wasn’t meaningful to me in any way. But at the time, I wasn’t following people who had purpose to their posts and neither did I, so I saw no benefit and realized it was better for me to just delete the app (which was probably really dramatic of me).
After talking to Dr. Brooke recently, she made a really interesting comment about how posting can allow us to self-reflect and that this freedom to speak what we feel like showing the world is really empowering. She made an example of how she was about to make a post and read through the caption to her assistant and realized it was just too much. This spiral was a moment for her to reflect on her own ideals for her page and realize just how comfortable she is with the platform and it made me realize too that I never knew what my ideals were for social media.
Overall, everything is what you make of it. I still would like to someday regain my attraction to social media, but I think that means becoming more comfortable with myself first. Referencing the same article as before, in Dr. Brooke’s “On Social Media, Mindfulness, and Breaking Addictive Patterns,” she mentions, “social media is not the problem, our lack of awareness and utility is. Once we become aware, we can then reconnect to ourselves, assert our power through choice and proceed applying what we know accordingly.”
In essence, social media can be seen as a prop and not the problem. We can change our perspective and take our power back by getting clear on our intentions- how are you using these platforms? Is it as a mindless distraction, just for fun, a source of inspiration, or a way to connect? What information are you intaking and creating? Are you building people up or tearing people down? Are you open to new ideas and embracing differences? Consider all of these questions (without judgment on yourself!) and remember there are no wrong answers.
For more information on awareness and intentionality, check out the Let Go & Grow Mind Body Reset Program!
Julianne Sack comes from a small town in southwest Florida known as Naples where she lived most her life and decided to come to Orlando to study Biomedicine. Julianne’s parents are both immigrants from South America who came to the states for not only a better life for themselves but a better life for their future children. Julianne has always enjoyed challenges and believed a medical career would suit her ethic, but as she grew up, she discovered a lot of corruption and dishonesty in the medical field and decided this may not be the right path for her. During the quarantine of Covid-19, she spent a lot of time with herself and started to learn a lot about the power of the mind and healing the body through more natural remedies and activities. In turn, Julianne’s path for her future now consists of functional medicine and holistic counseling.