The digital de-addiction clinic was full of people who were attached to their screens and were busy either in playing games or simply surfing, Very many of them were small children.The roll call would announce the next person to be admitted into the therapist’s chamber and they would wearily shuffle across to the designated area.
After about half an hour it was Ratan’s turn. He was 21 year old college going student and his parents were fed up of his screen absorption. He stayed in the virtual reality world for almost 6 hours a day and this took a toll on his other responsibilities.
“So you have a problem young man” opened the therapist.
“Yes I do have.” He replied. “They are sitting outside your cabin”
“Ah ‘you cannot choose your parents but you can always choose your therapist’ kind of problem” she quipped back. “Well cant help you with that one however can help your with your screen addiction.”
“Well what addiction” Ratan was nonchalant. “I can leave it the day I want to. I have tremendous willpower”.
“Will power or self control is never a given fixed capacity. It keeps increasing or decreasing with time and it has lot of factors which underpin it. So whether you have will power or not, you will need to be aware of the 5 gets of will power”
“What do you mean gets of will power”
“Will power depends on you getting some basics right. Here, let me explain its 5 gets:
1) Get De-stressed: This is the first and the most basic get. If you are not sleeping/eating/exercising/thinking right your stress levels will be high. This means that automatic part of your brain or that part which produces emotions and stress will be active while the part which exercises judgement and control will be lethargic. So you will have just enough energy to run one part of your brain and thus will resort to automatic patterns of your brain. De-stressing on the other hand will open up the supply lines to prefrontal cortex and help you with better self control.
2) Get Practice with Disruptions: Any automatic behavior or addiction cannot be broken by one big bold decision. It has a momentum which needs to be repeatedly interrupted over a length of time. So whatever interruptions you have, walking every 30 minutes, not looking at fatty foods, standing and stretching, you should keep practicing them in both hot and cold states. That is the only way you will get out of the addiction loop.
3) Get Motivation: Unless you have reached a pain threshold you are not motivated to change actions or do a course correction. So attach pain or pleasure with your micro-actions and also your outcomes. Visualize in detail how free and independent you feel when you are rid of this malaise or how painful it is be yoked to this lifestyle.
4) Get Alternates: Since we cannot operate in a vacuum so one simply cannot discontinue any practice. You have to replace it with something else. Planning alternate activities and that it in small chunks is critical piece of the self control mechanism.
5) Get People: Announce your intent, create a tracker, invite people to participate are all techniques which help you keep on track. They are your umbrella for the rainy day when flesh is weak and spirit wants to abscond. If you are pre-committed chances are you will not break your pact with yourself. “
“So you are saying that will power is not take a decision once and stick by it, through thick and thin play” Ratan was surprised.
“Yes, self control is not one big meta decision which you execute incrementally but generally a series of small micro decisions which you have to painstakingly curate over a length of time. It is not a force which some people have and others don’t but a slow grinding process which has to be understood and its weak or hot moments guarded against” therapist concluded.