Why Should I Reduce My Screen Time (Concrete Tips)

Why Should I Reduce My Screen Time (Concrete Tips)

Published on Feb 1, 2024

Published on Feb 1, 2024

Published on Feb 1, 2024

Without realizing it, we spend hours on our phones every day. But what we don't know is that these hours are actually contributing to the destruction of our brains. While studies by neuroscientists and other specialists try in vain to warn us, our addiction continues to grow. But what's really happening that's destroying our brains with every scroll?

In this article, we delve into the impact of excessive screen time on our brain's dopamine levels and explore strategies to regain control over our digital habits.

The Dopamine Dilemma: A Clash Between Emotions and Rationality

Our brains operate on a delicate balance of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that motivates us to perform actions. Every accomplishment triggers a surge in dopamine, creating peaks that quickly drop below our baseline level. This cyclical process is the essence of our motivation. Unfortunately, the constant allure of instant gratification often lets our emotional limbic system override rationality.

🧪 Understanding the Brain's Workings

To understand the issue, we need to grasp the basics of dopamine. The brain maintains a baseline level that motivates action. Completing tasks generates more dopamine, creating peaks followed by rapid drops. This relentless cycle is fundamental to our motivation. I invite you to watch the video by Andrew Huberman on this subject; it's insightful.

🥷 The Dark Side of Social Media

Social media platforms have capitalized on this mechanism, aiming to keep users engaged by inducing frequent dopamine peaks. By employing surprise and uncertainty, similar to casino slot machines, they make scrolling unpredictable. The uncertainty accompanying each click triggers dopamine spikes, creating a loop of pleasure-seeking behavior. Studies reveal that an excess of dopamine can negatively impact brain structure, as evidenced by MRI findings in individuals addicted to online gaming.

Without realizing it, we spend hours on our phones every day. But what we don't know is that these hours are actually contributing to the destruction of our brains. While studies by neuroscientists and other specialists try in vain to warn us, our addiction continues to grow. But what's really happening that's destroying our brains with every scroll?

In this article, we delve into the impact of excessive screen time on our brain's dopamine levels and explore strategies to regain control over our digital habits.

The Dopamine Dilemma: A Clash Between Emotions and Rationality

Our brains operate on a delicate balance of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that motivates us to perform actions. Every accomplishment triggers a surge in dopamine, creating peaks that quickly drop below our baseline level. This cyclical process is the essence of our motivation. Unfortunately, the constant allure of instant gratification often lets our emotional limbic system override rationality.

🧪 Understanding the Brain's Workings

To understand the issue, we need to grasp the basics of dopamine. The brain maintains a baseline level that motivates action. Completing tasks generates more dopamine, creating peaks followed by rapid drops. This relentless cycle is fundamental to our motivation. I invite you to watch the video by Andrew Huberman on this subject; it's insightful.

🥷 The Dark Side of Social Media

Social media platforms have capitalized on this mechanism, aiming to keep users engaged by inducing frequent dopamine peaks. By employing surprise and uncertainty, similar to casino slot machines, they make scrolling unpredictable. The uncertainty accompanying each click triggers dopamine spikes, creating a loop of pleasure-seeking behavior. Studies reveal that an excess of dopamine can negatively impact brain structure, as evidenced by MRI findings in individuals addicted to online gaming.

better

made simple.

Sleep

Focus

Screen Time

better

made simple.

Sleep

Focus

Screen Time

better

made simple.

Sleep

Focus

Screen Time

Strategies to Reduce Screen Time

The evidence is mounting—prolonged exposure to excessive dopamine peaks is harmful to our brains. It's imperative to curtail easy rewards and break the addiction to our own hormones. But how do we go about reducing screen time in a world dominated by digital devices?

😮‍💨  Destress Your Digital Life

Firstly, it's crucial to recognize that not all screen time is bad. It's a habit, and habits can be changed. Understanding your usage patterns and making conscious decisions to reduce stress-inducing activities is a positive step.

🔎  Study Your Habits

Instead of fixating solely on overall screen time, analyze the composition of your usage. Ask yourself: Have these activities been beneficial, or have I been wasting time? Taking stock of your usage allows you to make informed decisions on how to adjust your habits.

🧠  Re-Boot Your Brain

Identify and eliminate bad habits that contribute to increased screen time. For example, if you habitually use your phone in certain situations, find alternatives to break the cycle. Reprogram your brain by introducing new activities to reduce dependency on your device.

📉  Gradual Reduction Approach

"Cold turkey" methods rarely succeed, especially when it comes to reducing screen time. The best way to restrict yourself is to start from your actual usage:

  • Take your overall screen time for the day, app by app.

  • For each app, convert it into minutes. For example, 1h = 60min

  • Take these minutes and subtract 90%, i.e. 60x90%. Here we get 54min.

  • This will be your time limit for the day on this app.

Each week, readjust your limits, removing 10% each time (2nd week = 80%, 3rd week = 70%, etc.).

🔒 Go Further With App Blocking

Tell yourself that resisting the allure of certain apps is an uphill battle. It's David against Goliath. You're not up to it. That's why you can choose the right tools to support you in your quest. There are several solutions, but the most effective and comprehensive on iOS is undoubtedly Jomo, available on iPhone and Mac.

With the app, you can block distractions on your own terms: over a specific period, continuously, after a maximum duration of use. You're in control.

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Regaining control over screen time demands effort, but the rewards are profound. Immediate side effects may not be apparent, but the long-term consequences of excessive digital use can be severe. Adopting a preventive approach, characterized by moderation and conscious use of digital tools, is crucial for safeguarding our brain health. As the saying goes, "prevention is better than cure." By implementing these strategies, we can strike a balance between the digital world and our well-being, fostering a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

🔗 Sources
📌 Credits
  • Illustrations by Jomo | Photography Unsplash

Tinder

Medium

Headsp…

TikTok

Facebook

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Twitch

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.

Tinder

Medium

Headsp…

TikTok

Facebook

X

Twitch

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.

Tinder

Medium

Headsp…

TikTok

Facebook

X

Twitch

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.