Mindless or infinite scrolling as they say is when we scroll and scroll, mindlessly moving our thumbs across the screen, till the fingers are almost numb by the time we force ourselves out !
A few scenarios from our everyday lives. Read below to see if you are living any of these
-Busy at the workplace and a beep on your phone invites you to see an instagram notification from a close friend. You click on it thinking that it will take just a minute or two to see the pics and lo ! The only next thing you know is that more than thirty minutes have already gone by ! You’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole, watching video after video, while the to-do list sits big, neglected, on your desk.
– Boarded a crowded metro train and got an hour of travel before reaching your destination. What is the first thing many of us do? Yes, that’s right. Reach out for that smartphone and start scrolling your social media sites without even knowing what it is that one is looking for ?
– You decide to do some online shopping thinking you will save some time of traveling to the showrooms, you start searching for the product/ item/clothes you wanted to but end up with hours and hours of just putting endless things into your wish list or looking for things you didn’t even have an intent to buy in the first place !
-You are a part of a huge audience at a conference, the speaker fails to grab your constant attention and you are bored. What is the only thing you do as a primed reflex? Unlock your screen and start opening one of the easy to access social media apps one by one scrolling mindlessly till the next loud announcement is made or you hear the sound of hands clapping indicating the talk is ending.
If anyone sees themselves in any of the situations above , then they are not alone. Welcome to the big group of ‘mindless scrollers’.
Mindless or infinite scrolling as they say is when we scroll and scroll, mindlessly moving our thumbs across the screen, till the fingers are almost numb by the time we force ourselves out ! Research shows that users go from one post to another on social media every 19 seconds. The habit is so addictive that often we see our fingers naturally gravitate with an irresistible urge to see feeds in these apps like whats app, facebook, twitter , tinder, pinterest ,instagram etc when we switch on our phones. Social media sites are cleverly designed to get you addicted to them. How many times have we ever opened our social accounts/ you tube with an intention to find a specific article or something we need ? Most of the time these apps are just opened with the curiosity to see ‘ what’s going on ‘ and not ‘what I want ‘. That’s not a productive use of time, well everyone already knows that. Yet we do it all the time. There’s a big difference between opening Facebook to scroll around while you’ve got ten good minutes to kill boredom and opening Facebook to see the post about that important course announcement. There’s a big difference between scrolling through YouTube videos of baking a cake and watching endlessly for hours when you don’t even have the slightest intent to bake and opening the you tube to see the easiest cake video you have set out to bake ! Intention is the key. One is filling time with mindless stimulation, the other is performing a specific function. These services certainly make it hard to have healthy habits, but it’s not impossible. You just need to know what you’re doing. The next time you reach your finger to your social media app of choice, ask yourself why?
Coming to the scientific facts of mindless scrolling – Mindless scrolling not only wastes time, but also increases our dependency on dopamine-a neurotransmitter which is released in our brain whenever we feel aroused, motivated, or simply happy. When dopamine levels decrease, we have a natural craving for it. Notifications and absorbing content make us feel excited and leaves us wanting for more. This naturally triggers our desire to continue to scroll on our phones. So did you get to know now why have the website designers cleverly planted the ‘load more’ bar as you scroll for more and more ? That’s the bait- the more you press the bar the more you are going deep down into the rabbit hole.
There’s a big difference between opening Facebook to scroll around while you’ve got ten good minutes to kill boredom and opening Facebook to see the post about that important course announcement.
SCREEN TIME IS EATING AWAY YOUR TIME. GET BACK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
So what are the simple ways to break free from mindless scrolling
Get to know the facts – only best times are shared!
The social media sites are full of happy moments, achievements, accolades, winning posts,good news, new beginnings, all those happy faces – Well at least most of the time. This false positivity of others lives continues infinitely leaving us depressed many times. The other side of tumbling over, the failures, the bad day one has, the challenges that leave us hanging low are hidden behind the screens. The earlier one realizes this then one can priorly distance oneself to a safe zone the better.
So what are your smartphone habits ? Divert the triggers
So, what triggers your mindless scrolling habit? Being mindful of this behavior is the first step in curbing your scrolling habit. Pay attention to when and why you feel the urge to scroll. Is it the travel time you want to kill or the boredom you want to fill when you have nothing to do ? The early morning hours and late night hours before calling it a day are the most vulnerable times for mindless scrolling. Disable alerts and notification badges on your phone, especially from non-essential apps during work hours. Lesser the notifications, less likely you are to open the apps and get sucked in.
Remove all the apps on the first page of your home screen and replace your energy sucking apps with just your favorite wallpaper, your family pic or even more better – an inspiring quote even more better! This way, each time you unlock your phone, you’re not immediately welcomed with a bunch of apps wooing your attention.
Simplify your digital life. The best way to cut down on your smartphone time use is to keep it out of sight .
Out of sight is out of mind
Simplify your digital life. The best way to cut down on your smartphone time use is to keep it out of sight. At work or home put the phone out of your sight at least when you are physically present with someone. Countless memes and ads of couples having candle light dinners while peeping into their mobiles and not eye to eye, families sitting together in a room but not a word of exchange as each is busy knowing what is happening in the outside world than his own are proof enough of the gap created ! Have a charging point away from your easy accessibility, to avoid temptation. When you’re around other people, when in meetings and as an audience, live in the moment and focus on what’s happening rather than reaching out for that phone. Who knows you may be wiser by a word or two at the end. Lastly, you don’t have to rely entirely on this mobile device for entertainment. Find other hobbies and activities that you enjoy doing, such as reading, cooking, dancing, gardening or hiking. This way, you won’t need to constantly reach for your phone when you’re bored. It’s also okay to do nothing at times and just sit back. Trust me it feels good !
Implement these changes one at a time, and soon you’ll find yourself using your phone more intentionally. What works for one person may not work for the other but trying to minimize negative uses of social media will have a positive effect in your overall well being eventually.So why wait ? Let’s regain our productivity. We are social beings after all…not social media beings ! Stop scrolling and start living……..
“Composed by: Dr. Archana Shetty, is currently working as a Blood Transfusion Officer and Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at CDSIMER under the aegis of Dayananda Sagar University. With a teaching and diagnostic experience of over 12 years she is actively involved in blood transfusion services at the hospital.”