Making SMART choices for smartphone usage
Technology has significantly impacted the 21st century economy, bringing multiple benefits and advantages in this digital age. However, there are some hidden health and well-being costs which are beginning to attract the interest of neuroscientists and behavioural psychologists.
The human brain is sensitive and impressionable and is changing through constant dialogue with everything that is going on. The question that is being raised is how certain technologies might influence the evolving brain and impact behaviour and development.
Addiction to Devices
A central issue is the attachment we have to our smartphones and digital devices.
According to Dr Judson Brewer, Director of Research at the Centre for Mindfulness and Associate Professor in Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School, many people are addicted to their mobile devices. He defines addiction as “continued use despite adverse consequences”.
The adverse psychological and physiological consequences of over-dependency include:
- A reduced ability to make healthy choices through reacting to life on an automated and unconscious neurobiological basis
- An increase in distraction which limits attentional capacity and fatigues the brain, reducing focus, concentration and productivity
- An increase in stress through information overload and being ever-connected
- Restlessness and agitation
- Digital eye strain and sleep disruption with usage of devices late at night
- Impulse control problems which are strengthened through compulsive checking for text messages, emails, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagrams, etc.
- Disconnection from how we are feeling in the present moment
- Decreased capacity to be present in our interactions with others
The objective of our mindfulness-based approach is to support people to cultivate the capacity to make discerning health and well-being choices regarding their use of digital devices and technologies. Our program includes:
- 1 hour introductory sessions
- ½ day workshops
- Away day workshops
- Getting SMART with your smartphone usage: a program of six 90-minute sessions which will include:
- Understanding the motivational systems that drive behaviour
- Acknowledging the impact of current usage and making some key lifestyle choices
- Becoming aware of habits through an exploration of the constellation of thoughts, emotions, sensations in the body and impulses for action
- Cultivating the ability to notice the habitual behavioural urges and to choose not to act on them