Thursday, 1 July 2021


A menu for digital diet:


During the pandemic, one behaviour that slunk quietly into our lives is our digital addiction. Confined indoor, screens are suddenly the means to keep our connections alive and lift our own spirits. Be it work, socialisation, education, entertainment, news consumption, shopping, attending weddings, or gathering for protests, all have become virtual.


As our days started revolving around our screens - whether out of disconnection, sheer boredom, or necessity - whining about anxiety kick-ups, especially for spending unintended time online, isn’t uncommon. According to a World Advertising Research Center report, the daily global online content consumption (through smartphones, televisions, computers, tablets, and social media) more than doubled in 2020. Another study by Lancaster University in November 2020 states ‘worrying about tech use is more likely to cause anxiety and depression than using the tech itself’. 


The present situation compels us to think about how to make this tech-enslavement a healthier one. The new wellness mantra includes digital detox, digital minimalism, cyber diet, dopamine fasting, etc. And such tech diets are replacing awful habits with some awesome ones - mentally, physically, and digitally!


To alleviate this screen anxiety, today, as helpful online content is ubiquitous than ever, fostering self-awareness about tech usage, drawing a firm and fine boundary between screen time that’s nourishing and helpful, and screen time that’s fatiguing and harmful could be the first step. 


Psychology journals illustrate that too much screen time can take a toll on our mental health, deprive us of sleep and more productive tasks. Gadgets might be the first thing one reaches out for in the morning or the last thing one sees at night. This is where some simple solutions can be handy. For instance, why can’t we buy an alarm clock instead of using our mobile as one?  Even the phone’s proximity could tempt us to wake up, and the blue light from screens can trick our brains into thinking it’s daytime, which can psychologically stimulate us to stay awake. In such cases, wouldn’t consciously shelving gadgets outside of our bedroom be a wiser choice?


Even though we may shut down one screen, the tendency to keep others open remains. To avoid such screen-jumping, unplugging devices and taking breaks from screens altogether is highly recommended. Replacing screens with a brisk walk, yoga, meditation, a workout, reading a book, cooking, gardening…. while leaving our gadgets behind could also be a reliever. 


Research suggests that constant digital distraction prevents us from recharging and resetting. Facebook and Twitter, for example, created their timelines so that one could scroll endlessly through updates, maximizing the amount of time we spend on their sites. Furthermore, fake news, clickbait contents, and infodemics too are all anxiety-inducing. One needs to resist such hooks designed to keep us glued to our screens for doomscrolling by giving specific time slots a day to do it guilt-free and by strictly following it. Turning off app notifications that aren’t essential can be helpful. Still, if the temptation is too high, we should even consider breaking the cycle by deleting the social media apps entirely off our phones. 


Extreme addicts carry gadgets to their bathrooms, use them while dining or even when driving. Studies recommend creating “no gadget zones” and calendar events for just about everything, including browsing the web and taking breaks. In the US, first weekend in March gets celebrated as the National Day of Unplugging to raise awareness about tech addictions. Tech Shabbat (giving up devices from Friday evening to Saturday evening) is yet another trend among those who feel their lives are swarmed by digital cacophony. Pushing further, “dopamine fasting,” which involves depriving oneself of any stimulation - internet, TV, mobile phones, or even conversations with friends - is a much-needed breather to “reset” and recalibrate our brain. Plan such seasonal mini-breaks to fix appointments with oneself, and discover a ‘me’ time!


However, all screen time isn’t bad. After all, children are learning through online classes, and many continue their office work online. But while online, it is vital to filter out engaging and meaningful content instead of bingeing on whatever comes in. There are some useful, cost-free apps like Flipd, Shut, Mute, or Moment, which can help one stick to digital detox and help in mindful digital consumption. But if addictions go entirely out of hand, or lead to academic, social, and/or occupational impairment, reach out to the SHUT (Services for Healthy Use of Technology) clinic.  


Eventually, just as this pandemic helped us decode who and what matters, I hope it also helps us encode what digitally matters.


Thursday, 26 January 2017

There is a fundamental difference in falling in love and rising in love. To 'fall in love' is to be caught in the dogma of what one WANTS out of love. One is thus conditioned and entrapped in the prejudices, conclusions, dogmas and expectations from love. But if one learns to GIVE out of love, one rises in love. Like a flower which spreads fragrance without bothering about anything in return. Its like choosing to be free by making life simple and giving.

Monday, 16 January 2017

If someone really cares or is genuinely interested in, they'll definitely find time. Its true with both the people as also with any work assignment.
With Trump in USA, Putin in Russia, Kim Jong-un in North Korea, and Modi in India, there is a new breed of dealership rising in the world around.

An upset girlfriend was in temper tantrums. She threw everything she saw... and the obvious target was his framed photograph. Every time she missed the target, 🎯 she got angry. Just then she gets his call "How Are YOU Dear". He asked. "Missing YOU", replied the girlfriend.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Do we have this fallacy in our thinking that an expert in one thing can be an expert in everything? Is that why we made a scientist our President, a former academician our Vice President, former RBI Governor & Finance Minister our Prime Minister, former heroine a Chief Minister, and literature, sports, & film personalities (mostly former) elected/nominated as members of Parliament?

  A menu for digital diet:   During the pandemic, one behaviour that slunk quietly into our lives is our digital addiction. Confined ind...