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  • Writer's pictureCharles Winston

End the Vicious Cycle! Breaking the Screen Time and Mental Health Loop


 

Tuesday Tips is a weekly newsletter with actionable tips related to reducing screen time, increasing productivity, maintaining health & wellness, and understanding the psychology behind behavior change. To view all the tips go to getpresentapp.com/blog.


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Tip at a Glance: High screen time and poor mental health have a dangerous cyclical relationship. They help create each other and make things worse, causing you to spiral into the phone vortex. Break the cycle by becoming aware of the issue and replacing screen time with healthier activities like exercise, meditation, or journaling. Then integrate self-care practices into your daily routine to prevent falling back into the cycle, and prioritize emotional resilience to reduce your reliance on your phone during tough times.


Screen time and mental health are completely intertwined. I’m sure you’ve been in this situation before - you’re having a bad day and you have no motivation to do anything. So you check your phone. After you’ve been scrolling for who knows how long, you feel even worse. And now that you feel worse, you check your phone again. And on and on all day.

You’re spiraling in a vicious cycle that is really hard to break out of. Poor mental health increases screen time, and high screen time worsens your mental health.

Identifying the problem

The first step in breaking this vicious cycle is recognizing it in the first place. By becoming aware of the dual impact that excessive phone usage and your well-being have on each other, you can begin to regain control.


Once you’re aware that you’re in the cycle, the next step to break out is to literally say something out loud to yourself like “stop the vicious cycle!” It may seem weird to talk to yourself while you’re alone scrolling in your bedroom, but trust me, it’s not crazy.

Saying this out loud really shifts your mindset. It’s way easier to be intentional about getting off your phone and improving your mood once you clearly identify what’s actually happening.

Replacing Screen Time


Now you can begin to replace that screen time with something that will actually make you feel better. Think of a few healthy alternatives you can do instead of mindlessly scrolling. Anything that you know makes you feel better. Common things that I like to do are meditate, take a walk in nature, journal, or listen to music.

But probably the best thing you can do is exercise. Your body and mind are completely related, and exercise has been proven to be one of the best ways to make you feel better mentally. Even something super small like 10 jumping jacks can have a HUGE impact on your mood right away!

Preventing the Cycle


Going forward, write these activities down so you can easily remember them once you realize you’re spiraling. And even when you’re not trapped in the vicious cycle, it’s important to integrate these self-care practices into your daily routine to help prevent the cycle in the first place.

By prioritizing self-care, you can strengthen your emotional resilience and reduce the urge to seek solace in your phone.


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