Internet and Mental health: 7 Ways to Overcome Internet Addiction

 

7 ways to overcome internet addiction

Internet and Mental health: 7 Ways to Overcome Internet Addiction

[Contributors- Hasnain khokhawala( Healthclubfinder), Jenny Black(Founder of Media trauma care), Moumita Mallick (Founder, Fitnessbash1.com)]

It is rightly stated that, “Addiction is a special kind of hell. It takes the soul of the addict and breaks the hearts of everyone who loves them.” Addiction can most broadly be defined by behavior that keeps us from a full experience of life. We’ve heard of many kinds of addiction with internet addiction being the new addition. It is estimated that more than 210 million people suffer from internet and social media addictions!

In this article, ‘Internet and Mental health: 7 ways to overcome Internet Addiction’ we shall examine what internet addiction is, what causes it, how it harms one’s physical and mental health. We shall also examine 7 ways to overcome internet addiction disorder.

 What is Internet addiction?

A thriving human has a life that includes self-care, meaningful work, restorative play, and fulfilling relationships. Addiction is any one thing that keeps us from being able to give our attention to one or more of those areas essential to human development. This means that even something really beneficial like learning more information can be detrimental if it is keeping you from caring for yourself, your surroundings, engaging in relationships, finding work that is meaningful to you and regularly engaging in physical and mental recreation like sports and hobbies. 

Internet addiction is characterized by the constant need for digital stimulation, whether it through the use of smartphones or computers.

People with internet addiction tend to suffer from a constant urge for an escape from the natural rhythms of life.

If you have a strong urge to look at your phone, again and again, checking your social media accounts frequently you might be suffering from internet addiction disorder. It happens when you get dependent on the internet whether it is using social media or texting, because professionals have compared this addiction to a drug addiction since it impacts your health, daily life, work performance, and mental stress just like drugs do.

This addiction has got so complex that many other terms and aspects are coming out of it like online addiction, social media addiction, smartphone addiction, internet gaming addiction, internet sickness, overuse, technology obsession, etc

 

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What causes Internet addiction?

 “Today addiction is everywhere as more and more products and services gain information on how to coax our bodies to provide dopamine. The internet is one that provides so much to so many in terms of dopamine responses. For some, it is social media, others porn, and still others shopping, we might just like a laugh and watch video memes more than we'd like. The internet delivers so many pacifiers that almost anyone can spend hours in a hole created to keep us entangled” stated Martin Jon, Recovery Mentor.

How bad is it for your mental health?

 Internet addiction negatively impacts your mental health because smartphones and computers are incredibly stimulating. The morning media and the late-night media are taking away our calmness of mind. Today the world is so restless with information about criticism, negativity, and toxic information. The stress that media provides us all through the day is creating turmoil in our minds. It is a real issue and with serious consequences and the researchers have labeled it as Internet addiction disorder.

 

 Using these devices releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which brings about feelings of pleasure. Just like drugs and alcohol, you can build up a tolerance to the stimulation provided by the internet, which means you'll need more to achieve the same "high" that real-life can't seem to give you. Internet addiction disorder includes the following among many others:

·  Online relationship addiction where people are obsessed with virtual friends more than real-life friends and relationships.

·  The online compulsion of using online gaming and auctions or online bidding sites resulting in real financial problems.

·  Constantly overloading the information through web surfing throughout the day interferes with productivity and real-life responsibilities.

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How is it bad for your physical health?

 If you spend most of your time on the internet, straining your vision is one of the conditions you’ll probably experience. Headaches, elevated pressure as well as back and neck pain are associated with sitting still for so long with your computer or phone. Internet addiction drives you to not engage in structured exercise and has minimal levels of physical activity in general. There is also sleep deprivation due to long hours of Internet use. Exposure to the glow of the screen can inhibit your quality of sleep and sleep patterns. Internet addicts suffer from sleep disturbances such as insomnia and nightmares.

While on the internet you’re more likely to snack throughout the day and skip important meals like dinner leading to bad dietary habits. Over the long term, this can produce severe health problems that interfere with your body’s ability to function and increase your risk for a host of illnesses, from heart disease to diabetes.

·  The addiction can result in more use of alcohol and tobacco in general and at excessive levels.

·  Disturbed sleep habits can also affect your daily eating habits as well as keeping you away from a healthy diet schedule.

·  Due to the addiction, people don't even engage in any type of physical exercise resulting in less immunity.

7 ways to overcome Internet addiction

 If you are reading this article, then you most likely have a part of yourself that believes knowledge is power. Einstein is quoted as saying, “Information is not knowledge.” It is hard to believe that he wasn’t talking about the internet. Information received through various platforms is always filtered through someone else’s experience. This is how we expand our world view-by hearing, seeing, and understanding another person’s experience. However, with the way that most platforms are designed, we have to be vigilant about discerning if the information we are consuming is a fact, opinion, marketing, or data collection. Even if all of the information we absorbed was true, the bottomless nature of the internet means that we absolutely have to create our own boundaries around how much information we consume. 

 The second half of that Einstein quote is, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” If you really want to learn, turn off your computer, put away your phone, and jump onto the ultimate information highway, your own life. 

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1.Be Vigilant About Basic Needs

 Set a timer to check in with yourself several times a day. Do you need to eat? Do you need to sleep? Have you had enough water? Do you need to take a shower? Do you need to get dressed for the day? Do you need to stretch, walk or sit up straight? Do you need to take a long deep breath? Because so many of us are working, playing, watching, and connecting through our screens, we can begin to detach from our needs. How many times has your brain been locked into your screen and then once you turn it off, you realize you haven’t been breathing? There is actually a term for this. It is called “email apnea.” With so much to keep our minds occupied, we actually forget to breathe. We must begin to be vigilant about caring for our basic needs and give them the time and attention they require. When your basic needs are met, you will have the resources you need to handle the ups and downs of real life.


2. Practice Boundaries

 The best and worst thing about the internet is that it has no boundaries. This allows us to go places, see things, learn things and expand our world in life-changing ways. At the same time, we are losing really important boundaries like the beginning and end of work, or the balance of closeness and distance in family and relationships. We have unlimited data and there are no maximum texts we can’t receive or emails our inbox can’t hold. However, we are limited. There is a limited amount of time and attention we have. We convince ourselves that if we give 100% to managing our digital lives, it will matter. It will not matter. It will never be enough. We will never catch up. Because we are losing our sense of natural boundaries, we must learn how to bring them back into our life. I like to use the example of exercise. It was 50 years after the industrial revolution before the concept of exercise entered our society. Before that, exercise naturally happened in the average person’s daily life. It took us a while to figure out that we now needed to add something back to our life that we never had to think about before—being outside and moving our bodies. In the therapy world, we are seeing a tremendous amount of dysfunctions in relationships as a result of the ability to be in communication at all times. We need a balance of togetherness and separateness to be healthy. The same goes for work. Staying human in this time of history will require us to manufacture boundaries. 


3. Connect With Your Reality

 One way you can start this process is to power off your screens and ask yourself these questions: What have you been stressing about? What requires your deep attention? Do you have a paper to write? Do you have a report to turn in? Is there an errand you need to run? An appointment you need to schedule? A meeting you need to follow up on? Look around the space you are in right now. Do you need to clean something? Put something away? Get something repaired? Respond to a real person who is trying to get your attention? When you spend time each day connecting and caring for your real life you might find out that you want to spend some more time there. 


4. Never Use Social Media Early in the morning  

Though this may seem small, it has a huge effect on our minds. For every person the first 30-40 minutes in the morning are important since the subconscious outcropping works efficiently then. Utilize this time to build yourself, your talents, and your skills. There are pretty many things that can be done and that which improve you as a person. Work out, meditate, go for a walk, read, have a cup of coffee, and relax. Feel at peace with yourself. Appreciate the beauty of life and the nature. Practice constructive habits. But, never touch your personal devices too early in the morning. Don’t let the external clamor ruin your day. Let your mind absorb everything positive. Never miss this 'Me Time'. Early morning give your mind a proper nutrition.


5.Give a good rest to the mind before you sleep

 Avoid late-night media. The negative energies stay in your mind if you sleep with so many thoughts absorbed in the mind.

30-40 minutes before you sleep turn off your devices. If that is not possible then am sure at least 15 minutes before you sleep you can turn it off now. And, do not sleep with your device. Lay restrictions for yourselves like putting your phone aside after 10. Nothing is better for one's mental health than a good night's sleep.

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6. Socialize with family, friends, and pets

 You need to cut down on technology just like digital detoxing. You must socialize more with your family, friends and near ones. Make them your priority. For these are the ones that actually matter.  Change the way of communication from mobile or internet to speaking or communicating in person. You can make a plan or a routine that you can follow every day to make the impact of the internet less in your daily life.

 

7. Use technology to cut down on technology

We use technology for many things in our lives. Why not use the power of technology to cut down on technology? There are innumerous applications and options out there that help in cutting down on screen time.  “There are two habits that have helped me significantly reduce the amount of time I spend on the internet. The first tool that has helped is called "Unhook," which is a Chrome extension that blocks Youtube recommended videos. Oftentimes, I would find myself going on Youtube to watch one video, only to spend a couple hours down a rabbit hole binging suggested videos that Youtube's algorithm instantly recommends. Another habit that has been hugely beneficial is putting my phone in another room whenever I need to get work done. By putting my phone in another room, checking my phone and going on the internet become far less appealing” stated Justin Gasparovic, Founder, theenemyofaverage.com. When it comes to breaking internet addiction, environment design is far more important than willpower. 

 

Concluding: ‘Internet and Mental health:  7 ways to Overcome Internet Addiction?’

Awaken from the unconsciousness lodged in your brain. Idly surfing through the internet for hours leads you right down to a blind alley and you will end up being a disaster. No one can jolt you awake until you decide to wake up. Discern the fact that internet addiction is bad for you, and the society on whole. As rightly quoted by Dale Carnegie, the problem with human beings is not ignorance but inaction. So, decide to take action today.

I hope my article, ‘Internet and Mental health: 7 ways to overcome Internet Addiction?’ is of assistance. Subscribe to my newsletter and get all updates delivered straight into your inbox.

 

 

 

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