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How to Keep Your Screen Addiction From Harming Your Happiness

The purpose of this post is not to convince you to give up your screens. That's a ridiculous idea! Why would you do that? But I would like to offer you a quick nugget of advice for limiting the damage that screen addiction can have on your overall happiness.
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There's a reason why you don't see screen addiction programs popping up all over the place and politicians touting the need for increased spending on screen addiction research and treatment.

It's because the constant use of our personal technology is a modern reality that's not going to change any time soon.

In fact, it's only going to get worse as our screens integrate with and automate even more tasks of daily living.

The purpose of this post is not to convince you to give up your screens. That's a ridiculous idea! Why would you do that?

But I would like to offer you a quick nugget of advice for limiting the damage that screen addiction can have on your overall happiness.

There's still a ton of cultural resistance to fully embracing the obvious, negative correlation between constant screen checking and happiness.

The unspoken cultural trend that our amazing personal technology promotes is: "Find pleasure first. Deal with reality second."

How many people do you know who actually don't rely on their screens for calming down?

I know maybe one and it's a generational buffer that keeps this person from jumping to his iPhone to handle emotional distress.

Is there any calming force more effective than screens for avoiding an unwanted thought, feeling or new reality?

You just learned that your apartment is flooded from the unit above. What do you do? In five seconds you can temporarily extinguish the dread of having to deal with the flood by surfing the web, reading, shopping or texting.

I want you to consider that your happiness is on the line if you're a constant screen checker or surfer and you don't take this call to action seriously.

Pleasure is increasingly becoming confused with happiness because of the immediate gratification that screens provide.

Sustained happiness grows from flow experiences that aren't interrupted by your phone.

Happiness is living in your own mind without relying on digitally enhanced muting of thoughts or feelings.

Happiness is connecting with the organic world around you, including the people and places you love.

Before I share with you the simplest approach to preserving your happiness AND your phone addiction, it's important to know that our constant indulgence in screens is pushing us to live between extremes.

That is, we use our screens until we can't take it anymore. We push our sanity to the edge until we have no choice but to take a break from our phone, tv or computer because we can't deal with ourselves.

People start Facebook detoxes for this reason. This represents the other extreme.

Screen and social media detoxes are effective in the short-term, but it's a near certainty that you're going to revert right back to your pre-detox, self-abusive levels of personal technology use.

Again, this is the reality that is 2016. Live your life at digital warp speed until you begin to lose your grip on what matters most, at which time you declare some version of a digital detox, most commonly regarding social media.

So what's the solution to a life with your screens that only operates at two speeds?

It's simple. Add a third speed. Call it something like "half speed" or "digital recovery mode."

Practice this new speed daily.

In this mode, you actively, consciously, mindfully practice resisting your impulse to check your iPhone just because you feel like it. You only need to stay in this mode for just a few minutes a day to feel a difference.

Break the unspoken code and ignore the expected rapid response time to your friend's texts.

Just for a minute, an hour, or a morning, stop holding people to an insane standard for returning your messages because you're embracing the joy that is half speed mode.

Once it's declared, keep reminding yourself that you're in half speed mode or whatever you've named this third gear when new digital challenges or urges arise.

Try using the bathroom without your phone because you're honoring your commitment to half speed mode.

Try watching watch two shows tonight instead of four.

Digital half speed is a temporary state, not a permanent new reality.

Enter it. Honor it. Leave it.

This in-between mode is about (1) experiencing yourself as setting an intention within your digital world and following through, and (2) practicing living in your own head without the distraction of screens.

Believe me, with a bit of practice it starts to feel great after it first feels awful.

The sense of integrity that goes with honoring your word to yourself can spike your happiness levels when you reflect in hindsight.

You don't need to live life like an out-of-control pinball.

I promise you this third speed can be the difference between a stressed-out life and a stressed-out life with the option for peace, happiness and balance.

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions to this post. I will respond to every single one.

Dr. Greg Kushnick is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Techealthiest.com where you can find the most actionable tips on the web for creating happiness within your personal digital world.