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5 Things We Can Do To Improve Our Relationship With Screens and Technology, With Dr. Srini Pillay

Build a few complete phone breaks into your day: As tempting as it may be to take your phone or iPad into the bathroom, or to put your…


Build a few complete phone breaks into your day: As tempting as it may be to take your phone or iPad into the bathroom, or to put your phone next to you while sleeping, it may be helpful to have phone-free moments during the day. Try going phone less in the bathroom, and/or have a few hourly segments during your day when you put your phone away entirely, or put your phone away when. you are slipping if possible. In this way, you are taking control of your phone back into your own hands.


I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Srini Pillay, a globally recognized, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, brain imaging researcher and author of Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind. Pillay is a pioneer in the brain-based personal development arena and is dedicated to helping people unleash their full potential. As CEO of NeuroBusiness Group, he works with non-profits and Fortune 500 companies globally to help people understand how to manage risk, uncertainty, and volatility, and to harness creativity. He is an in-demand keynote speaker and has been featured on CNN, Oprah Radio, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Forbes, and Fortune.


Thank you so much for joining us. Can you explain to us the challenges that excessive screen time can present to us?

Technology is not “all bad”, though excessive and mindless use can be. Here are five ways that it can potentially be harmful.

  1. Mobile phone notifications can diminish attention:

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26121498) When a task demands attention, mobile phone notifications cause a disruption in attention similar in magnitude to active phone usage

2. Cell phones can diminish productivity:

(http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-52302-001): The mere presence of a cell phone (even without active use) can make it difficult to focus and concentrate on a task that requires a lot of attention, focus, and mental processing.

3. Use of vehicle navigation systems reduces your ability to produce (mental) cognitive maps (reduces memory)

(https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255603105_The_Effect_of_Vehicle_Navigation_Systems_on_the_Formation_of_Cognitive_Maps). i.e. You know the route less well, remember less along the route including the order of images, and you remember fewer landmarks too compared to handwritten notes, memorization or paper maps.

4. Greater investment in mobile devices correlates with a weaker tendency to delay gratification, especially if you already have poor impulse control:

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26980462) You may miss out on long-term opportunities.

5. The more technology you use, the less well you feel independent of what you eat and whether you exercise

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338000/) More screen time can lead to greater loneliness, depression, withdrawal, anxiety, attention problems, and aggression

Can you suggest to us 5 lifestyle changes/tweaks toward with screens and technology that can make one feel dramatically better?

Sure:

1. Build unfocus time into your day-1: To refresh your brain, practice positive constructive daydreaming in a 15-minute period during the day. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24065936) It will refresh your brain.

2. Build unfocus time into your day-2: To refresh your brain that has screen fatigue, napfor 5–15 minutes. This will give you 1–3 hours of clarity. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075238)

3. Build unfocus time into your day-3: Create a doodling (scribbling) break or doodle while on a group call. This will increase your memory by 29%. (http://pignottia.faculty.mjc.edu/math134/homework/doodlingCaseStudy.pdf)

4. Revive people watching: When you are waiting for a friend at a restaurant or bar, you may be tempted to check your phone. Instead, people watch. It will help you take in the environment, and also help you manage your technology addiction.

5. Build a few complete phone breaks into your day: As tempting as it may be to take your phone or iPad into the bathroom, or to put your phone next to you while sleeping, it may be helpful to have phone-free moments during the day. Try going phone less in the bathroom, and/or have a few hourly segments during your day when you put your phone away entirely, or put your phone away when. you are slipping if possible. In this way, you are taking control of your phone back into your own hands.

Thank you so much for your time!

Originally published at medium.com

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