Digital Diet

How To Cut Excess Of Screen Time

Digital Diet. Healthy Living Magazine

Digital Diet. Healthy Living Magazine

I woke up this morning ready to tear through my to-do lists and start my favorite fall season off right. But then my phone pinged. New email with a deadline. Ping. Aunt Fay shared a darling LOL cat video. Ping. A must-read article about the top three ways I can make sex better. Ping. Ping. Ping. And so starts my day in the digital age.

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We get so lost looking at that seducing roasted acorn squash recipe that we rarely get around to actually preparing it. We admire our cousin’s kids in Idaho yet fail to light up when our very own darlings walk into the room. We lose time checking out that new yoga position chart and miss our workout, again.

Here are some actionable uncluttering tips for your digital landscape that are guaranteed to not only start fall off with a refreshing data cleanse, but will also make a positive difference for preventing future pile-up.

Trim The Digital Fat

Those of us who have reached the tipping point of an overwhelmed email inbox long for a balanced digital diet. This requires a commitment to occasionally purge the digital desserts that bloat us with empty brain calories. Those Facebook friends who annoy you? The pesky subscription emails you never read? The apps with unnecessary little red terrorist notifications? Delete them. Only preserve the digital notifications that have a worthwhile purpose. Your precious brain fuel depends on it.

Eat From Healthy Screen

Carve out blackout times and situations where screen media is not allowed for kids and parents. Brains need rest to refresh and rejuvenate. Agree to no screens in bedrooms, behind closed doors, or at mealtime. Triggering a data chase when your time is better spent resting or engaging with those you love can add up to tragic lost opportunity. And for kids, unsupervised screen use increases risk dramatically. For a quick, affordable blueprint about how to stage healthy screen use, checkout my Get Kids Internet Safe Quickstart Kit.

mar multitasking myth

Our brains are built for one task at a time. Toggling between tasks takes longer and burns oxygenated glucose, the very brain energy you need to be productive. Block your schedule and do one task at a time rather than trying to juggle several and doing them all poorly. And don’t trust yourself if you think you multitask awesomely. Psychological research shows that people can’t accurately assess the response cost of multitasking. You may think you’re a supertasker, but you’re most probably not.

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snack on smiles

A witty interaction here and there fuels your happy center. Make sure you snack on broad smiles and random acts of friendliness in the nondigital world. Your emotional fitness requires it.

nourish emotion

The psychological research is exploding with impressive results about the restorative qualities of mindfulness, imagery and meditation. It’s irrefutable evidence that being fully engaged and emotionally present with others is as essential as leafy green veggies and filtered water. Make it happen and often. That means less screen time, less guilt. Live communication best nourishes the spirit.

bone up on healthy thinking

In order to keep your inner productive beast in line you must hire a mental-emotional security detail. Your most effective soldiers are diaphragmatic breathing, cognitive restructuring (changing your stinking thinking into happy celebratory thinking) and yoga.

Tracy S. Bennett, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and adjunct faculty member at California State University, Channel Islands.

Get Kids Internet Safe Quickstart Kit

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