The other day I was scrolling through Instagram. It was a moment of weakness.
As a rule, whenever I catch myself mindlessly scrolling, I try to turn off the device.
Of course Instagram fights back against these attempts at self discipline, by serving me the exact sixty-second video that is most likely to keep me staring at the screen….
In today’s digital age, it’s become all too easy to fall into the habit of mindless scrolling. With the rise of social media platforms and smartphones, many of us find ourselves endlessly swiping, scrolling, and consuming online content without even realising it. But what causes this behaviour? And why is mindless scrolling really a problem?
Few people come to the new year with a goal of spending more time on social media. Instead, they want to use it less, to stop wasting so much time scrolling, or to use it more purposefully.
Some philosophies suggest that our attention carries spiritual power.The world serves us magically more of what we notice… maybe has always been some truth to that, maybe less. But it is certainly true now.
Our world has become hardwired to give us more of what we pay attention to. in the last few years this trend has rapidly accelerated. Every time we look at a screen, even if we are just mindlessly scrolling, artificial intelligence is watching what we pay attention to. More than watching, it is studying. More than studying, it is obsessively measuring, training itself, getting better – at giving us more.
More of what we pay attention to.
It doesn’t care abut our weaknesses, our blindspots, our insecurities, our bias, our addictions….It doesn’t want us to become better people in 2024 than in 2023. Admittedly, it doesn’t want us to become worse either. it only wants one thing: our attention.
Finally, thoughtless scrolling can harm personal connections. The continual presence of screens can disrupt face-to-face conversations, causing feelings of detachment and lowering the quality of relationships. According to studies, those using their phones frequently had greater levels of relationship conflict and lower satisfaction.
Reducing social media usage was observed to reduce feelings of loneliness, possibly due to decreased social comparison on sites such as Instagram. The research, however, called for minimising screen usage rather than complete withdrawal.
Excessive screen usage has also been associated with disrupted sleep habits. It interferes with sleep by reducing melatonin release, a hormone that governs sleep-wake cycles. This interruption can affect brain growth as well as information processing and storage. Excessive screen time affects the brain’s reward system in a way akin to a variable reward system, perhaps leading to compulsive behaviour.
Choose when you’ll connect. We’re big fans of social media when it’s used intentionally! It can be a beautiful place of connection, encouragement, learning, and inspiration. But, for many of us, these apps are just too addictive to leave up to our willpower. Without a plan, our fingers will wander over to click open the app more often than we’d like.
Recognize what you’re trading your time for.
So, at the beginning of this new year, perhaps we should begin by controlling what we pay attention to.
Because what we pay attention to… expands.
In the future we will be shown much more of what we choose to look at. Let’s choose carefully.
And if at any point we become conscious that we are not the one choosing… pause. Perhaps the most powerful choice we have left is to turn off the screen.

Image courtesy of Lilianna Heitmann | Salutogenese Institut
Related Posts
New Program

Yes... It’s possible to be in control of our lives, to become resilient and confident in ourselves and our paths. Read more

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) One of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing, has been used since ancient times for a Read more

Red Clover Wildcrafted
Red Clover

Red clover, also known as meadow clover, not only looks beautiful and is popular with insects due to its sweet Read more


Mindfulness is about being fully immersed in the present. One of the reasons this is so important is because life Read more