We love the Internet. What's too much?


We love the Internet.  Oh let’s be honest, we adore the Internet. Most of us can’t imagine our lives without it. The convenience, the connections and the unlimited amount of available information at your fingertips.

But are you spending too much time online? How do you know?

Like any addiction your particular behavior will lie somewhere on a spectrum between “hardly use the Internet to it’s destroying my life”.  And I’m not just talking about teens.

Do you stay online longer than you intended, finding yourself scrolling and searching for hours? Do you find tasks aren’t completed because of the time spent online? Do people who care about you voice concern about your time online? Get in trouble in work because of Internet use not related to your paycheck?  And when you aren’t online are you moody, irritable and frankly just not a joy to be around?

When we’re online we get little jolts of dopamine released from the reward center of the brain.  That’s the same part of the brain that’s affected by alcohol, drugs, food and sex. So yeah, it can be addicting.  You’ve heard stories about smokers who have to have a cigarette first thing in the morning, or alcoholics who need to drink upon rising.  How long can you go in the morning without getting online?

Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook can take up enormous amount of time and has the extra problem of making us depressed.  How many times do you see people post all the crappy things that happen during the day?  Where are all those self-critical posts to coincide with the thoughts in our head?  That’s right, not online. This leads to a distortion of how happy everyone else is and can actually lead to an increase in anxiety, depression and stress.

So what to do?  For one thing you can you use RescueTime to help you understand your daily habits and be more productive. It sits in the background monitoring your application use and then sends you a detailed report.  No guessing, you’ll know. And with that knowledge you can take action to reduce your unnecessary use and have more time for joyful things. For life, you know, with humans and pets. Click here to find out more.

But if you’re one of those individuals whose use is problematic, individual help can bring a sense of normalcy back to your life. Mindfulness training among other modalities have been shown to increase awareness, reduce cravings and create a balance in your life. Contact me for more information or to schedule an appointment.