Why Choosing Greyscale On Your Phone Can Help You Find Joy And Avoid SAD During The Holidays
BlueCross BlueShield recently sent out an eblast with a public service announcement warning about the coming Holiday-onset of Seasonal Depression, or SAD.
It made the intriguing admission that, “The exact cause of Seasonal Depression isn’t known.”
SAD, the Great Winter Mystery Of Modern Medicine?
I’ve had SAD. I notice it when someone puts a single blue bulb on an otherwise white tree. I know what Elvis is yarbling about on Blue Christmas.
Sometimes I’ve known the cause. Other times, I just felt like shit.
Fortunately I believe I found a hack for SAD — Grayscale.
Yes, Grayscale — All Fifty Shades Of It
Last Christmas, I was getting deep into the work of Tristan Harris, the former Google Employee and founder of the Center For Humane Technology, who blew the whistle on the nefarious ways and means of our “Attention Economy.”
Basically, follow the money. Once you do, you will realize the tech on your phone is designed to be as addictive as possible.
The Center For Humane Technology website features “Tools” to protect yourself from the inherent addictiveness of your phone. BTW, The science behind “persuasive tech” it is both fascinating and horrifying.
This is why “Dopamine Fast” is a trend.
We are becoming aware of the dichotomy of the Smartphone. A paradox, which exists in the definition of the very word smart, which means intelligent but also painful. In other words, we could technically change the name of the smartphone to painphone and still be linguistically accurate.
The Four Easter Eggs Hidden in Steve Jobs’ Stanford Address
Apple and Pixar are infamous for their hidden Easter Eggs — what else did we miss?
By simply becoming more aware of my phone interaction, I began to notice the small zing of anxiety I felt every time a notification icon buzzed my phone. I toggled those off.
Harris points out that “use of color” is one of the tools of addictive tech. Nefarious because this preys on our humanity. We can’t avoid it, our brains are in love with bright colors.
It occurred to me that, with the colorful arrangement of apps and background pic, my phone is lit up like a Christmas Tree, 365.
So I tried going Grayscale.
Grayscale is very weird at first. Your phone is literally less interesting. It turns out that when your phone is not lit up like a Christmas Tree, you find it less interesting.
So how does that Grayscale help alleviate SAD?
By correcting a balance.
Doctor’s point to the “seasonal shift in daylight” as a possible cause of SAD, the diminished levels of sunlight that come with winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
Another possible cause of SAD is the seasonal reduction of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in dim light and darkness that affects sleep. We’ve known that viewing screens at night effects our sleep, because the bright blue UV light disrupts our circadian rhythms.
That is why I also use “Nightmode” on my phone, which claims to block the bright white/ UV end of the light spectrum. This is also why “Nightmode” makes the screen look yellowish.
There’s also a blooming cottage industry of UV-blocking glasses and screen protectors that purportedly reduce UV exposure to safe levels.
If you care enough to try Nightmode, you should probably care enough to try Grayscale.
BTW, Grayscale isn’t permanent. Once installed on iPhone, you can toggle Grayscale on and off as needed by simply triple-tapping your side button.
Here is the Samsung keystrokes for Grayscale:
And the iPhone keystrokes for Grayscale:
Here’s what I learned when I went Grayscale last Christmas:
When your phone is lit up like a bright flashing interactive Christmas tree that you hold a foot from your face six hours a day, it dulls your senses.
The wackiest thing happens after you go Grayscale for awhile. When you toggle back to color, the colors are almost too vivid, too bright.
What does that indicate? The mark of addiction, we are building a tolerance? The phones are giving us “Color Fatigue.”
So Here’s The Happy Hallmark Ending
Go Grayscale this Holiday season, and when all your phone gives you is gray — the colors of the real world become that much brighter. In this way, you flip the screen.
When you aren’t constantly exposing yourself to a hand-held Christmas Tree, the actual Christmas Tree becomes special again.
Makes sense, right? If you aren’t getting a massive dose of non-stop color from your screen, your eyes will find the colors of the Holidays more satisfying.
Maybe you’ll appreciate the little things in your life more, develop a higher level of awareness about this new world we live in, and see the Holidays with fresh set of eyes.
Feeling Blue this Christmas? Holidays lost their zest? Try going Grayscale, and see if it brings about the Christmas Miracle you’ve been hoping for.