This post is Part #2 in a three part series about mental health and your smart phone. Check out Post #1 to learn why reevaluating how you infuse technology into your life is important to your mental wellbeing.
I am well aware that this is a difficult relationship to re-imagine, but this is possibly what is standing between you and living your best life. Again, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, my tech toys, especially my smartphone. However, I am very aware of what it does to my self-concept, my time management abilities and my overall ability to focus on tasks. Ready to love that little tech wonder in a different way?
Before I get too far down this rabbit hole, I just have to share one of my favourite psychology experiments, The Marshmallow Test!
In the 1960s, a Stanford professor, Dr. Walter Mischel, began conducting a series of important longitudinal psychological studies on the importance of delayed gratification (being less impulsive). I will let the videos below explain the fascinating and hilarious details of this study. My hope is that it will give you a little insight into the importance of learning to be less impulsive with your phone. If you get nothing out of it, at least you will see young kids struggling to not eat the marshmallow and the side-splitting strategies they try in the attempt to avoid actually eating it. I still LOL when I watch these vids 🙂
Delayed Gratification, Impulse Control, Digital Dieting, Tech-Life Balance, Mindful Use of Tech, whatever you want to call it you have a choice. A healthy brain or a brain that struggles. A successful life for your future self can start with living more in the real world and less in the digital world.
The Marshmallow Study makes one thing clear: if you want to succeed at something, at some point you will need to find the ability to be disciplined and take action instead of becoming distracted and doing what’s easy.
Ok, so I hear that you may be tipping in the right direction but have no idea how to actually stop eating the marshmallows (aka looking at your phone).
Here is a recap..
Eating 1 Marshmallow (Looking at Your Phone) = Building Psychological Distress
Waiting for 2 Marshmallows (Phone -Life Balance) = Building Mental Wellbeing
So, let’s talk about the very cute but large elephant in the room. FOMO!
In my opinion, this has got to be the worst side effect to this tech revolution. Studies show that FOMO leads to extreme dissatisfaction and has a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health – mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, reduced self-esteem, extreme social anxiety, and increased levels of negativity and depression.
Next blog post I will be going into more detail around how to manage specific challenges with applications such as SnapChat, Instagram and getting caught in the endless streaming cycle with YouTube and Netflix. Join me and please feel free to ask questions or suggest topic areas 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success