It was probably dangerous to get my laptop out of the drawer and turn it on, but I felt like I needed to write. I’ve spent most of the day either actually meditating, or trying not to use my laptop or phone. When I manage to break my patterns and have a day like this I have a lot more space in my brain for thoughts and my brain becomes quite busy and I feel restless.
In attempts to break my device addiction I’ve had periods of going “cold turkey” from a specific addictive website or app, or from any devices at all for a couple of days. I’ve tried committing to meditating every day for a certain number of weeks. I’ve tried both of these strategies more than once, and I’d say that it’s the meditation that works best. I think this is partly because of what I realised a few years ago, that it’s much easier to actively do something than it is to stop yourself from doing something habitual.
Meditation is good for me anyway, and doing it regularly makes me less likely to have a significant lapse with my addiction. That’s not to say it doesn’t still happen it’s just less likely as it makes me more focused and aware of what I’m doing.
In order to meditate, most of the time I do have to be in a situation where all devices are either out of reach on the other side of the room, or in a different room, otherwise the temptation is too great. Sometime that’s not enough and it’s necessary to be completely away from them. That’s part of the reason why over the last few years I’ve gone through phases of driving somewhere in my van, leaving my phone at home and finding a quiet place to park and meditate. It’s a bit cold for that at the moment, because after a freakishly warm November (It’s almost as if the climate is warming) it’s now actually cold (-5C today) and it takes about 20 minutes of motorway driving for my van engine to warm up enough to actually heat the cab. It’s also a bit cold outside of my bedroom to meditate downstairs, and the default place to sit in my room is at my desk where my laptop lives, so that’s a temptation I’ve been struggling with, which is why my laptop has spent most of the day in a drawer.
The trouble is I often feel like I should be able to focus and meditate with these temptations around, but the truth is I can’t which is why one day a few years ago when I’d sat down for a half hour meditation, about 15 minutes in I found myself shopping on ebay.
I started CBT recently and had my third session yesterday. Starting that has involved keeping a daily log of how I spend my time, which has made me a lot more aware and think a lot more about how I spend my time, which I think is part of the reason I’ve spent today the way I have, trying to avoid devices. I decided to try again to get CBT on the NHS about a year and a half ago, and have been on a waiting list most of that time. I tried a long time ago, but that’s a whole other story. After three sessions I feel hopeful it’s going to help me.