4 Steps to Coping with Technology Addiction to Gain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Working from home and looking after your mental health

Behavioural addiction is typically characterised by a level of technology or internet use that impairs relationships; contributes to family, work, or interpersonal difficulties; and impacts daily function negatively.

While technology is an integral part of our everyday lives and brings many advantages such as keeping us informed of the latest news and the ability to connect with friends; there are a lot of potential challenges that come with our digital world. A key challenge is that technology is not going away, so learning to cope with, and learn healthy ways of engaging with technology so that it is a positive experience that enhances your life is important.

The term ‘work/life balance’ is a hot topic, particularly as the boundaries between our work and home lives dissolve. This merging of worlds is a contributor to the rise in technology use and, in some people, can lead to feelings of overwhelm, stress or a compulsion to stay connected at all times.

The use of mobile technology for both work and social purposes is widespread and pervasive, and the use of technology and the flexibility it offers is generally viewed positively in terms of work/life balance and wellbeing. However, technology can be a distraction which denies us that precious non-specific time in which you can daydream, unpack your anxieties and have a conversation with your deeper self.

As specialists in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), we have put together a brief overview of some of the CBT tips we encourage our patients with a addictive behaviours to consider:

List the harmful effects of your addictive behaviour

It will be difficult to acknowledge how your addictive behaviour is harming you or those you love. However, seeing the list on paper will help you to start your journey to managing your addiction. Consider when you first noticed a reliance on technology and anything it prevents you from doing in your life. Has it impacted your relationships or prevent you from spending time with people you care about? Perhaps it prohibits your ability to form new friendships or relationships? If there are ways it has hurt you mentally, include those on your list. EG. Do you feel anxious, emotional, isolated, shame or embarrassment? Does it impact your job? Or have any negative financial implications?

Consider the positive changes you want in your life

Now that you have a list of the negative impacts, the next step is to identify how your life may improve if you were able to manage your relationship or addiction to technology.

What could your life look like post-addiction? Write down how you would like it to be. Will you feel a sense of freedom? How will your relationships be? What will you do in your free time? Will you feel more confident or have more clarity about your future?

Find ways to relax, de-stress and relieve tension

An essential step in the recovery from any addiction is that you must change your thoughts, habits and beliefs. We all need to escape, relax, and reward ourselves; these are essential coping skills for a happy life. It is common to feel that you don’t have time to relax, so consider if you had the tools and resources to reduce your interactions with technology, what could you do with this time? Could you explore a hobby or activity? How does walking or being outdoors make you feel? Could meditation work to calm the chatter in your mind? Do you enjoy exercising?

Considering CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is widely used to manage behavioural addictions. Addiction, depression, anxiety and stress can be exacerbated by a series of dysfunctional and deeply-ingrained thought patterns. Your ability to make healthy choices can be affected by these negative thought processes and lead to behavioural addictions and other mental health challenges. Negative thinking is a significant cause of anxiety and depression, which often underlie addiction. If you can learn to change your thinking, you will improve your life.

“Any behaviour can easily become entrenched and therefore ‘addictive’ without us almost noticing. With CBT interventions we aim to break any addictive behaviour pattern and replace it with more worthwhile, healthy and rewarding activities.” — Professor Marcantonio Spada.

Destructive thought patterns and beliefs can lead you to doubt your ability to manage your relationship with technology, which can lead to an overall sense of hopelessness. However, our experts at Onebright can use CBT to address and interrupt these negative thought patterns. CBT can be used to change the way that you respond to stress, learn new ways of thinking, and empower you to develop the tools that you need to resume a healthy, fulfilling and addiction-free life.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a behavioural addiction, our BABCP accredited CBT therapists can help you develop a more balanced view when it comes to processing your thoughts and emotions.

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