It’s 10:30 at night, and this is the first time I’ve turned on my laptop all day, just so I could write this. I’ve also hardly looked at my phone, and mostly been separated from it. Not that there’s much interesting I can do on my phone now thanks to my favourite blocking app.
Today I also did my washing up, went for a walk in the park, did a big supermarket shop and read a book. None of these probably sound like achievements to most people, but I’ve not managed to do a supermarket shop since I moved house over a month ago, and I’ve hardly walked in the park in that time, which when I’m doing well is an almost daily routine that’s really good for me.
In a way the biggest deal of these for me is reading a book. I’ve never been a massive reader, but with my device addiction I rarely have the inclination or attention span to read a book. This has also been one of my list of healthy activities to try and do that have been part of my goals for the CBT I’ve been having, and one of a list of healthy and enjoyable activities I’ve had on my wall for years, but rarely done.
I decided a month or so ago that I want to spend all my time in ways that are one of the following three things:
– A Rest
So that’s the benchmark now when I think about how I’m spending my time. This partly came out of the fact that I realised that spending time on addictive websites or apps, or just going into a rabbit hole on Wikipedia are none of these things. If I’m not enjoying it, it’s not a rest or a break, and it’s not useful then what’s the point of it? It’s a waste of time. And worse than that it’s detrimental to my mental health.
So today I feel like I’m winning when it comes to my addiction. Last time I made this much progress it took going away for 3 days without my phone. This time I’ve managed to do it while being at home, which I think is a good sign for me having a decent chance of being able to keep it up for a while. But I’m not kidding myself, I’ll need to stay vigilant.
I read somewhere recently (I’ll come back and add the reference if I can find it) that if you regularly flood your brain with dopamine that your body actually reduces the sensitivity of it’s dopamine receptors, meaning you get less of a feel-good boost when you get normal things done in everyday life (like doing the washing up, going to the supermarket, or just eating something) which kind of blew my mind a bit. Apparently the body does re-adjust if you go back to a natural level of dopamine-inducing activity, but it takes time. This makes complete sense to me in relation to why I feel so terrible when I try to detox, but also become a lot more productive, especially after the initial discomfort is out of the way.