The internet is wonderful and essential to so many of us but god knows the relationship between us and the internet can be COMPLICATED.
At the same time, many people are at the point where they resent how much they are online and their urges to go online again and again.
There are two main reasons we over-indulge online.
1. The first reason is habit.
You're used to rolling over, turning off the alarm and checking Facebook or emails. Perhaps it's always been the first thing you do when you get to work.
Habits are great in some ways, as they give our brain a break and we can go on autopilot, however it's a little unnerving when you've entered your password and opened an app before you even know you've done it. Much like arriving home and not remembering the drive.
If this applies to you, I’d invite you to think about if this is a habit you need or want to continue.
Is it helpful to you? Pay attention to how often you go online.
Keep note, just for a day and then reflect on what you find out.
Create a new 'tiny habit' to follow when you wake, for example, like turn off your alarm and turn your phone off. That might be your first step to creating an awesome morning that makes you energised instead of distracted and flat.
2. The second reason for overusing the internet is that we want out of right now.
There is something in that moment that you don’t want to be a part of.
Is life feeling tedious or stressful? Did something upset you? Are you feeling not good enough or beating yourself up about something? Are you bored with your evenings?
Whatever the reason, the internet, games or work email is your escape of choice to tune out challenging emotions and situations.
It helps you numb your feelings.
Humans are very clever at finding ways to care for themselves when life feels too much. Going online or playing games all night is a version of self-care, the best version you might have had to date.
It's done it's job well but it might no longer be serving you and it certainly isn't bringing you into the life you are aching to live.
This is not a tragedy, but rather, it is the ultimate silver lining.
Be curious about your compulsion to go online and avoid the present.
Ask yourself: What has just happened? What am I unhappy or unsettled about? What is stressful or not sitting right?
I can identify with numbing out feelings in various ways and I affectionately call myself the Queen of Avoidance or numbing. My favourite go tos include/d overworking, overeating (aka binge eating), being crazy busy, waaaayyy too much tv and being on the phone/listening to radio/something anything with noise so that I didn't have to deal with how I felt. Oh and of course, the internet!
That was my way of life and I felt trapped, like there was no other option.
I'll be writing a lot more about all the way we numb, including but not limited to overusing the internet, games and work emails.
I look forward to sharing with you some of the great ways I have found to overcome these patterns.
Freedom is closer than you think!
Be kind to yourself and take it slowly.
Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, life coach and researcher in work and wellbeing. I coach successful 30 and 40 somethings who want more fulfilling or bigger careers but doubt themselves and their options. I help them get out of their own way, find direction and go for what they really want.