Just take some time out

Be honest: Was your first action this morning checking the smartphone? We don’t even notice the extent of our digital consumption. And doing so, we shift a lot of power to our smartphones instead of ourselves.

C hecking what's new online right before going to sleep, answering your first e-mail before even getting up in the morning and quickly checking the weather forecast on your way to the shower: When thinking about our media consumption you may ask yourself who is in control – you or your cell phone. It is in our nature to be curious, which makes the Internet a paradise for our brains: There are surprises that attract our attention around every corner. With each headline, exciting message or cat video, our brains release hormones that trigger feelings of joy.

You may ask yourself who is in control: You or your cell phone?

This may sound great initially, but it can also turn into a problem. As soon as we lose control over whether we would like to keep scrolling, smartphones and the Internet not only have control over us but can become downright addictive. Psychologists attribute symptoms similar to alcoholism and drug addiction to this phenomenon: headaches and a feeling of burnout and anxiety in the early stages followed by symptoms ranging from insurmountable cravings, loss of control and withdrawal to neglecting work and friends and ignoring the addiction. Of course the boundaries between these symptoms are blurred and the process is a gradual one.

Don't let it get that far! But going entirely without smartphones is not an option either. Smartphones support us in our everyday lives, offering many advantages: keeping in touch with friends, having access to unlimited information and much more. We need to learn a healthier way of using media that helps us rather than hurts us. Why not give it a try right now?

Just take some time out