Clinical Psychologist Camila Williams Gives 5 Ways People Can Improve Mental Wellness by Setting Healthy Limits on Technology

Dan Pannasch
Sep 12, 2018 · 9 min read
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“Emotionally, so much screen time can be numbing and even isolating. We have the illusion that we are connecting with others but it is only a surface level connection.”


I had the pleasure of interviewing Camila Williams, Ph.D. a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of PTSD and anxiety. Dr. Williams has held leadership, training, and teaching positions at the Long Beach VA Healthcare System and the University of Utah. She has also authored several grants for a community non-profit and worked towards reducing mental health stigma in underserved communities.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your backstory?

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

Between work and personal life, the average adult spends nearly 11 hours looking at a screen per day. How does our increasing screen time affect our mental, physical, and emotional health?

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Can you share your top five ways people can improve mental wellness and create a healthy relationship with technology?

  1. Switch screens to warm colors at night and ideally turn off all electronics 1 hour before bed. Just like kids need a nighttime routine to settle down, so do grownups, but we forget this. Go to any therapist for help with sleep and the very first thing they’ll ask you about or teach you is sleep hygiene, aka your bedtime routine. Journaling, music, reading actual print, are all great ways to settle our minds, slow our body, and get better sleep.
  2. Take a social media fast periodically (e.g., no app Sundays, with week breaks quarterly). Delete the apps until the fast is up. Sort of like intermittent fasting, juicing cleanses, etc… we need to give our mind a break from the constant connection. It helps us think more clearly about our purpose.
  3. Don’t leave your phone by your bed. This is to help you resist the urge to check it when you wake up in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, as discussed below, starting your day with a mindful routine is one of the best ways to start taking back control of your life.
  4. Set daily usage limits on apps. I read 2 books in one week when I did my social media fast. It’s astounding how much of a time suck all those apps add up to be. Monitor your time and set limits for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what else you learn or discover when you give yourself some time to do it!

51% of Americans say they primarily use their smartphone for calls. With the number of robocalls increasing, what are ways people can limit interruptions from spam calls?

Between social media distractions, messaging apps, and the fact that Americans receive 45.9 push notifications each day, Americans check their phones 80 times per day. How can people, especially younger generations, create a healthier relationship with social media?

But I do encourage people to at least test it out. Try one weekend with no notifications from your favorite social media app, and then pay attention. What did you notice? If you noticed absolutely nothing different then you really didn’t need those notifications in the first place. But most people do notice a change. They often notice they are more in control of demands placed on their attention. This doesn’t mean you have to keep the notifications turned off forever, but now you can think more mindfully about when you want them on or off.

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80% of smartphone users check their phones before they brush their teeth in the morning. What effect does starting the day this way have on people? Is there a better morning routine you suggest?

The quiet of the morning is actually one of the best times of the day to practice this. I highly recommend meditation, prayer, reading inspirational literature or scripture, writing in a gratitude journal, doing yoga or just slow stretches in the morning before you check your phone. Pick one activity and set a goal to do it for at least 15 minutes every morning before you start your rat race. With time and practice you can extend it to 20 or 30 minutes every morning.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote?

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?


Thank you for this interview. It was very insightful!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Dan Pannasch

Written by

Robocall expert and Product Manager @robokillerapp, the app that gets revenge on robocallers. www.robokiller.com

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Dan Pannasch

Written by

Robocall expert and Product Manager @robokillerapp, the app that gets revenge on robocallers. www.robokiller.com

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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