The Scrolling Habit

Lysa TerKeurst writes in the book: Uninvited – Living Loved When you Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, “We just have to remember that where we pay attention matters more than we know. Our minds and hearts are like dry sponges. What we focus on is what will soak in and saturate us.

I highlighted that passage a week or two ago just before deleting the Facebook and Instagram apps on my phone. iPhones have a feature now where you can receive a breakdown of your screen time from week-to-week. The breakdown provides you with hours of screen time, the applications you most use, number of phone pickups, and number of notifications. I turned it on because I was curious how much time I actually spend on my phone and I was astonished. I didn’t think it was a lot, but you pick it up, do a little five-minute scroll and it all adds up. The apps I spent the most amount of time on were Facebook and Instagram.

Why did I delete social media?

The Lysa TerKurst quote spoke to me because after seeing the breakdown I saw where my attention was going. Although the last seven weeks I have been giving most of my attention to my son, the parts of the day when he was asleep or feeding I found myself scrolling. I notice that I would see something that would upset me on social media and it would affect my mood. Or, I would be comparing myself to other people as I scrolled. Finally, I recognized that I relied on Facebook and Instagram too much to stimulate and entertain me. The thing is I wrote a post about the Power of Disconnecting in May and according to the breakdown of my screen time I didn’t follow through with the healthier habits and goals I laid out for myself.

Something inside of me said, delete the apps. Take a break. Refocus your attention. So I did. The week was wonderful, I read more from a book, I listened to music, I went outside, and I was present and focused on the world around me. While the attention I gave to my son never wavered it still felt good not to pick up my phone and start scrolling just in case I missed a smile or eye-contact with him. The break fell on Halloween – my son’s first Halloween. It was difficult not to share this moment with the people that follow me on social media; however, it felt more special to instead share this moment with only a select few.

What happened after the week was up?

I re-downloaded the apps and thought I would be better. But truth be told, scrolling has become a habit for me. An unhealthy one if I do say so myself. So I have once again deleted the apps and will keep them removed for the time being. Still, there is something inside of me that is saying, take a break. So while I will be posting for Pearls of Prudence, I’ll be taking a break from my personal pages unless of course to share my blog posts.

Heres the thing, I think it is important to evaluate where your attention goes because like what Lysa TerKurst said, what we focus on can and will affect our hearts and minds. If something negative is messing with your heart and mind, shut it down, cut it off, and refocus your energy somewhere else. Most importantly for me, I need to set a better example, and the only way I know to do that is to go cold turkey on social media.

What about you? Where is your attention going these days? How does what is grabbing your attention affect your mood? If it is negative, is it time to go cold turkey?