Should you say sayonara to mindless scrolling?


For many of us, our day begins and ends with looking at our phone. Throughout the day we also reach for it countless times, usually to procrastin­ate by mindlessly scrolling social media or to seek an endorphin rush via a notificati­on. In fact, the average person picks up their phone 58 times per day. But have you stopped to consider the impact this is having on your mental health? Studies have found a link between social media use and feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as lower self-esteem.

Of course, not all the time spent on social media is harmful – it can help you connect with friends and family, stay up to date with news and watch adorable cat videos. If you’re struggling to find that balance, Dr Jo Orlando, author of Life Mode On: How to Feel Less Stressed, More Present and Back in Control When Using Technology, explains how to cultivate a healthy relationsh­ip with social media – and when it might be time for a break.


Many a celeb has opted to take a step back from social media at some point. In 2016, Kendall Jenner took a short hiatus, explaining that “I just wanted to detox”. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Chrissy Teigen announced that some social media platforms no longer served her and she would be deleting them (this was, however, short-lived, lasting less than a month).

So, how do you know it might be time to take a step back? Dr Orlando says scrolling social media as a way to relax and manage stress, or checking it at inappropri­ate times, is a red flag. And if you find yourself feeling physically or mentally exhausted from social media, it’s definitely time to rethink your relationsh­ip with it. “When we use social media in ways that don’t work for us it can exacerbate the insecuriti­es we already feel,” Dr Orlando explains. “This then can have damaging impacts on all aspects of our life – career, relationsh­ips and our self-esteem.”

Dr Orlando says another big sign to watch for is if your use of social media becomes an automatic behaviour. “We didn’t deliberate­ly make the decision to check social media every time we are in line for coffee, it’s just something we started doing,” she explains. “We didn’t deliberate­ly decide every notificati­on we received needed to be checked within seconds of receiving, it’s just something we started doing and kept doing.”

“So taking a step back and thinking about what uses and habits are working for us and what practices are causing us stress is important, so that we can make changes that benefit us.”


Facebook and Instagram aren’t going anywhere, so for this reason Dr Orlando says it’s important to use technology in a more positive and empowering way, rather than going cold turkey.

“A digital detox is often proposed as the solution to all the stress we are feeling from social media and other tech uses. However, come Monday morning, the same issues are there. You just put them on pause. The problem is that we can’t sustain it and because of that it doesn’t work. The stress we feel from social media directly relates to how we use it,” Dr Orlando says.

She explains the first step is to be aware about your current relationsh­ip with your phone and social media.

“Study yourself for a couple of days, think about when and why you reach for your phone. Was it stress, boredom? Be more aware of your habit and what is taking you to social media,” says Dr Orlando.

She advocates finding other ways to deal with your stress that are productive, rather than just mindlessly flicking through your feed on autopilot.

“Have something that is not zombie scrolling to do – an online chess game, use a health tracking app, a word of the day dictionary, or a puzzle. Something that is productive and not passive,” she advises.

 ??  ?? CHRISSY TEIGEN Twitter addict Teigen lasted three weeks before reactivati­ng her account in April.
CHRISSY TEIGEN Twitter addict Teigen lasted three weeks before reactivati­ng her account in April.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia