Every now and then researchers release groundbreaking evidence that should change the world as we know it… but evidence doesn’t have the effect we think it would.
While there are a number of factors in play that help create change, knowledge is rarely ever enough alone. Even when it is groundbreaking.
The evidence you are about to read is not really groundbreaking, and like most research confirms something we already know but do little about.
What makes this evidence different is that it was collected during the early months of the pandemic, a time when mental masturbation soared on the most sacred shared spaces in the universe. A space that’s become a source of distraction to take us from life’s worries.
In our post about mental masturbation, we learned about the law of arousal and how we strive to maintain a comfortable level by raising or lowering it. We covered how not all sources of arousal are good and can be addicting. We’ve also talked about the importance of taking a break from our devices and using the outdoors to improve well-being, and how a lack of self-control can indicate an early death. We know the importance of developing self-control so we can keep from being addicted. These are all important to know for surviving the world today –a world dominated by technology and addiction to it.
This study confirmed that habitual use of the internet to escape life’s worries has a negative impact on our mental health by increasing depressive symptoms. The longer the problematic use continued, the harder it was for participants to control their use.
In other words it sent them down a self-control-landslide and out to depression-sea.
The Internet is Digital Alcohol, on Tap All Day, Every Day
The internet is vast and full of wonderful things… but it’s also a cesspool. This duality makes it one of the most frustrating tools in the world. On one hand it connects us to similar minded people and feeds us information, on another it alienates and depresses us.
The internet is alcohol on tap. A little makes you warm and relaxed, but too much has you puking your guts out. And even though everyone knows too much alcohol is bad, people still abuse it.
Both alcohol and the internet can shrink your brain if you consume to much for too long.
A study showed that those with Internet Addiction Disorder had a reduction in brain volume in specific areas, and the longer the addiction was in years the less volume those areas had. The areas that shrunk are associated with emotions, memory, and brain function.
Worse memory, less control over emotions, and poorer general brain function is nothing to kid about.
While not life threatening, this should be concerning if you care about quality of life. The brain is the control center of the body that mediates all actions and experiences we have, and it’s health is critical to the health of everything else, especially our mental well-being.
It’s important to know this, but…
Knowledge isn’t enough to change behavior. Knowing something doesn’t change much. Instead, research has shown that in order for knowledge to have an effect we must act on it. In order for us to take action it has to be practical for us to do so. The harder the action is the fewer will do it.
But even more importantly, in our world full of social pressures, our social influences need to also care about it. People generally need others that they know and trust to do it to have a greater success of doing it themselves.
For many, the people they look up to are the influencers that have built lives around being online every moment of the day, like the streamers that sit in chairs for 12 hours a day playing video games, and wealthy entrepreneurs talking about ways we can spend even more time online to make extra money.
We are seeing more reasons to consume more.
And of what we see, none of it warns you of the impact it is having on your mental health, or tells you to use it more responsibly. You feel the effects of it, the depression, but like knowledge, even emotions aren’t enough to stop us.
Do you get what is being said here?
How we feel and what we know is not enough to get us to change.
When we have no self-control we become depressed slaves to our addiction, and knowledge nor how we feel is enough to change it. We have to take action by integrating the knowledge into our lifestyle.
Our lifestyle today is only increasing the time we spend online, despite the knowledge of its effects. Change may never come, or it may come too late.
You don’t have time to wait for society to change.
It took 100’s of years for the health benefits of masturbation to become known. That means millions of men never got to enjoy the benefits of a good spank.
Are you willing to deny yourself the health benefits of self-control because your society chooses not to?
So take action. Engage in intentional use of the internet. Have clear goals as to why you are using it. Exercise self control. And like all sources of arousal –always leave wanting more.