For many of us the screens on our computers and phones are never far from our eyes. In fact according to a recent study sponsored by Shire, 70 percent of adults shared that they cannot pursue their life passions without screens.
Media titan Arianna Huffington finds this data to be alarming. In fact, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global has been committed to sharing how extreme screen-time impacts our lives. “In all the surveys and the data it’s very clear that excessive time with our screens is affecting our mental health, increases depression and anxiety,” says Huffington. In fact Thrive Global launched a dedicated section called Screen Sense which has been a key part of Thrive.
Huffington is so devoted to creating an awareness of the hazards of exorbitant screen usage Thrive Global partnered with Shire to help increase the dialogue on screening responsibly. Their work is an extension of Shire’s eyelove campaign which spotlights the importance of eye health and understanding the signs and symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye. “One out of three adults report that they use screens ten hours a day and that is too much,” explains Huffington.
But what about those of us who say their screens play a crucial role in their work and social lives? Huffington says the issues centers on awareness and moderation. “This is about taking breaks, maybe having a walking meeting without looking at your phone. Look up and blink every now and then and then return to the screen,” she shares. “It’s not about giving up things you love. These are microsteps. The problem is that sometimes we get so involved, we forget the microsteps.”
As Huffington has observed. one of the key things that keeps people hooked on screens, especially young people, is the fear of missing out. “That is why we recommend small steps to help people prioritize what matters to them. The fear of missing out is one of the biggest fears. But they miss out on their lives,” says Huffington. “According to all the new science, when we take care of ourselves, we are more effective. It’s the quality of energy that we bring to what we’re doing.”
Huffington shared more.
Jeryl Brunner: You have committed your work to help inspire people to thrive. What advice was greatly beneficial to you throughout your career?
Arianna Huffington: Fear of failure often makes it hard for young women to make forward moving steps. What helped me was my mother’s advice. She would always say to me “Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s the stepping stone to success.”
When I became more and more passionate about issues like stress burn-out and and technology, I wanted to spend 100 percent of my time on them. I decided to leave the Huffington Post to do so. And that was a risk. I was running a big global company and I wanted to leave and start a company about having impact in this area. I remember discussing this with a friend. She told me “Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and jump.” And sometimes that is what you need to do.
Brunner: What if you feel afraid to take that jump? It just feels too scary?
Huffington: What I say is that fearlessness is not the absence of fear. If you wait to have no fear, you probably won’t do anything. It’s about doing what you want even while you are afraid.
Brunner: What are some doable tips to screen more responsibly without feeling deprived?
Huffington: Turn the light down on your computer screen. When possible, read an actual book instead of an iPad. Remember to blink often. As a reminder, leave a note on your computer screen. Also, practice the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend staring at a screen, you owe your eyes a 20-second break to look 20 feet into the distance. Take walking meetings and be present during your meetings instead of multitasking on screens. Turn off all your electronic devices 30 minutes before going to bed and leave your phone outside your bedroom at night if you can. Also visit screenresponsibly.com for information.