Sussex Performance Centre

Is Screen Time Impacting Your Wellbeing?

Let’s cut to the chase. Too much screen time in itself can be very detrimental to your mental state and well-being.

This is because it emits a lot of blue light which creates such a strong dopamine response in your body that it can very easily down regulate or even desensitise your dopamine receptors.

And when this happens, your motivation goes down the drain (amongst other things).

Why does this matter?

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter. Your body makes it, and your nervous system uses it to send messages between nerve cells. That’s why it’s sometimes called a chemical messenger.

Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting.

Your body spreads it along four major pathways in the brain. Like most other systems in the body, you don’t notice it (or maybe even know about it) until there’s a problem.

Too much or too little of it can lead to a vast range of health issues. Some are serious, like Parkinson’s disease. Others are much less dire.

Screen watching

What has shown to be particularly bad is when your screen watching is non-involved or passive. This means just staring at the screen with minimal intellectual involvement (example: watching a streaming movie/series or mindlessly scrolling through social media).

Passive watching is like putting your car in neutral and pushing the accelerator to the max.

It speeds up your neurone’s, amps your brain up but you don’t use it! It creates a lot of fatigue without anything being done and no real satisfaction as an outcome.

Impact on your wellbeing

I have been a victim of this myself. A lot of our work involves screen time. Writing blog posts, checking in with members, answering emails, creating programs etc. All that stuff isn’t ideal, but at least there is some intellectual involvement. However, in my case it led me to spend more and more time watching videos in between bouts of work to pass the time.

This ratio then got progressively worse. And I started to feel worse too.

I fast reached a point where I had no drive at all, no energy and become completely non-productive. It even got to the point where watching videos gave me zero pleasure, but I would keep watching out of habit.

After two days of pretty much no non-uninvolved screen time I started to feel a lot better. After 5 days, I felt like my old self again.

What to do?

I am not telling you to avoid the simple pleasures completely. Just be aware of the very real negative impact of non-involved screen time and do not become an over consumer, for your own good.

 

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