Are you worried you may be addicted to digital communicating? How much time do you spend looking at your mobile screen or on the computer just checking what others have posted on their wall?
Texting, emails and other forms of communications have changed dramatically how we talk to others. There have been advantages. For example we are now managing to find old friends that we have lost contact with. Parents are now able to watch the progress of their children as they travel abroad for the first time. And we are able to stay in contact more easily. Some of us will even remember the days when you made an appointment to meet at a certain place. But if we were late we couldn’t let our friends know. Now all we have to do is text or call them.
But there are also challenges. This technology has come in fast and we are struggling to keep up with the changes. Our brains cannot evolve quickly enough. However, for the tech natives (those growing up with all these technical innovations) there is some evidence that their brains might be wiring differently to those of the tech immigrants (the older generations who have had to learn new skills).
Some people are finding that they have become compulsive and, for example, check for messages all the time. Others feel they can’t really take a holiday from work and have to check and respond to emails while they are away. And therapists are now seeing more clients, especially those in their 20’s and 30’s, who have become addicted to porn.
We seem to have become a nation of being always available and psychologically this isn’t ideal. Humans need to switch off. To enjoy ‘me time’ so that they get recharged’. We need to take control of electronic communications not have it control us.
So what can you do if you feel that social media or internet surfing has taken over your life? Do your anxiety levels increase when you lose your mobile? Are you suffering withdrawal symptoms?
The first step is to realise that you are not alone and you’re not a freak. There are many, many others like. Just ask your friends and family. But be aware that others may not be as compulsive as you are. Secondly, try limiting your time using this technology. If you find this difficult then it might be useful for you to work with a therapist.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) has been seen to have measurable effects on addictions. First you will work with the therapists to find what triggers you to search or browse. With this knowledge you will work with your therapist to change your life to prevent the triggers.
But, as with any addiction, there are usually underlying factors that have encouraged you to search out whatever your compulsivity is around. You may be unhappy in a relationship; or suffered a trauma when you were growing up or maybe you use the internet to relieve boredom. Working with a therapist will help you figure these underlying factors out and enable you to change and move on.
Article written by Owen Redahan - London
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