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THE NEW OPIUM WARS!


Stop and ask yourself if you have become addicted to your screen.

How might you feel if I said you could have NO screen access for the next week?

Are you a screen junkie?


I thought I was fairly well aware of the dangers of too much screen time and if you are reading this blog I don't have to repeat those here - we know the detrimental effect it can have on us.


Erling Kagge in his book 'SILENCE in the age of noise', reports that the New York Review of Books has labelled the battle between producers of apps as 'the new opium wars'. I can see it, they are out to get you hooked, be it on social media, app land, gaming, news, films, the list is limitless, there is something for everyone.


So yes, I THOUGHT I was fairly enlightened and had my screen time pretty much under control, I even aimed to have 'screen free' Sundays.


Yes, I work on screen writing a lot BUT I wasn't addicted to Netflix or movies, so I was OK .... wasn't I??


Well the answer is NO! I wasn't!


A sneaky little addiction had crept in over the past months and I hardly noticed it's arrival and subsequent infiltration, it was so stealthy.


No, it wasn't something I ate, drank or smoked (apart from cheese!) ..... it was NEWS ADDICTION!


I was watching or listening to news for hours every day, often in the background but it was still there .... 24 hour news and debating channels such as TALK TV or GB News had infiltrated my home, Julia Hartley Brewer was my news goddess every morning, Mike Graham and Kevin O'Sullivan were engaging in their views of current affairs .....


Slowly my addiction was forming, all under the clever marketing aegis of 'being informed' / one is a 'good person' if one is informed, it's your civic duty to keep up to date on what's happening, so the more informed you are, the better person you are .... that's the subliminal message that is slowly being absorbed and has given birth to a plethora of news channels and apps.


What it actually delivers is a propensity to 'over-think' and analyse everything when you only have half the facts or, even worse, the facts are misleading or distorted. There is a regurgitation of the same old questions and Politicians repeatedly repeat themselves, making all too familiar claims and promises. Both local and global news being negative at best and fear-evoking at worst, nurturing a cultural feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.


A few weeks ago I became acutely aware of these last two emotions in myself. So much so that it stopped me in my tracks one afternoon and the lightbulb suddenly lit up in my brain ...


.... the 'energy' of all this negative news was cunningly invading my energetic space and causing an emotional shift.


Duh !!!! How had I not noticed?????


So off went the TV, radio and news app. Silenced with the promise to take a couple of weeks off.


THAT was when I realised I was a news addict, because suddenly I felt jittery at the thought of not 'keeping abreast of affairs'


That realisation and awareness was a true gift, I laughed at myself for falling into a classic marketing trap, but grateful for the insight which meant I could release myself from the jaws of the addiction.


Every time I felt the temptation to put on the news, in whatever format, I laughed at myself, smiled and simply said: "no! not today Maddie" and went and did something that I enjoyed for a few minutes: tidying a drawer (well, I'm a Virgo and we like those sorts of things!), taking longer to walk the dogs, sorting out my knitting, writing this blog ..... you get the idea.


I was also aided by the fact I was away teaching for a week and then up in the Scottish Highlands with limited internet and a different routine to my life.


Back on the island now and I think I'm over the worst of it. I hope Julia, Mike and Kevin don't miss me too much! I have Classic FM on in the background and I reckon if anything really dramatic happens in the world it will be announced there.


Am I burying my head in the sand? Maybe I am BUT I believe that by creating a more stable and 'functional' energetic 'bubble', I myself will be healthier and ultimately happier and THAT energy will radiate out and impact those around me (including my animals).


In a world that sometimes seems 'hopeless' it's the one very positive thing we can do - as Donna Eden says: "Raising the vibration of the planet one by one"


I would still stand up and say:


Hi, I'm Maddie and I'm a news addict.


So I'm not getting too cocky just yet!


What might your screen addiction be? news. Netflix, gaming, Facebook, Instagram, inbox? - it can take many different forms.


So ask yourself again: "How do I feel at the thought of NO screen time for a week or so?" - if there is even a flicker of emotion, other than a huge smile and feeling of relief, then you may be in need of a DIGITAL DETOX !!


Rediscover the gentle healing of SILENCE, slow down your pace a bit, allow time to enjoy the little things every day.







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