Using Psychology To Gain Back Control of Our Digital Habits.

Breaking bad digital habits using the psychology of behaviour

We live in an age where digital devices control almost every aspect of our lives. From socializing, entertainment to work, we use our internet enabled devices to carry out our daily activities. Many people may not admit this but now more than ever we are losing control over our digital habits.

Nowadays you find that people check their online notifications the first thing they wake up. When out to lunch, they still sneak a peek, even on their way to the most uncommon of reasons, the restroom. Even more troubling is the fact that people find themselves checking out their online platforms in the presence of the people they love the most and to make it worse, for no urgent reason at that.

Many people wish they could say they are in full control of their digital habits but the sad fact is they are not. They may go through myriad of resources on exactly why we get hooked on digital gadgets but that doesn’t stop them, from over using. The various digital gadgets are not actually bad, they are just tools like any other but the usability of the tool is what hurts instead of benefiting the user.

Not everyone struggles with digital habits; it all depends on the degree of compulsion for using them. What may be interesting and engrossing to one person maybe be very boring to another person. Things like social media, video games, television, radio sports may compel others and repel others.

If you maybe one of the people struggling to gain control of their digital habits, here are some ways you can use to tackle your problem using the psychology of habits.

Unhooking yourself

Psychologists say that products form habits or behaviors when done with little or no conscious thought. The impulse to use a particular product attaches to an internal trigger, which are basically cues informed by mental associations and memories.

You find that certain situations, places or uncomfortable emotions act as internal triggers. Like when you are bored and lonely, you go through Facebook and Twitter feeds, when uncertain we consult with Google or when excited about an event we check their website feeds. The mental itch comes in barely perceptible waves of anxiety, where by you start asking questions like, is there something waiting for me, what if it’s important or urgent?

By recognizing the internal trigger that causes your habit, you have a better chance of confronting your urges. You might now how to fully drop the habit completely in a short period of time, by simply acknowledging the sensation is a way of disarming the internal trigger.

Burying the trigger

After identifying the triggers for your digital habits, now you have to find practical ways to put your mind at ease by controlling the external triggers. External triggers are the things that prompt action from a user by suggesting what to do next. The pop up notifications, icons and buttons are always popping up on our digital devices telling us to check, open and respond to messages. They may be helpful sometimes but sometimes they are not, needlessly distracting us from our daily activities.

There are several ways that can be employed to reduce the distractions of external triggers. You can designate a specific time on your calendar to e to check your digital device as opposed to letting messages barge into your life throughout the day.

You can also choose to turn off notifications of your mobile apps. Not seeing the notification on your phone can reduce the temptation. You can as well change the positioning of your communication apps to a different place on your phone to make it more difficult to access. You may find that by not openly staring your social media accounts every time you open the phone can reduce the temptation to check out what new notifications are waiting for you.

Knowing exactly where, when and how to use technology is still an open question in the society today. However at the end of the day, what we all want is to control our digital habits, rather than allow them to control us.

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