Social media is simultaneously a boon and a bane. Although it depends a lot on the way we use it, the fact remains that the increased screen time and the dependency on our phones are altering our lives and perhaps even affecting our mental health. Coping and surviving is indeed a difficult task for the online generation who’s battling a multitude of issues related to mental health. This is where Dr. Alok Kanojia comes in. Dr. Kanojia is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and the CEO of Healthy Gamer, a successful life-coaching company that helps thousands cope with internet-induced stress and issues. To his YouTube followers that go beyond a million, Dr. Kanojia is ‘Dr. K,’ the host of the mental health platform HealthyGamerGG which was particularly designed to help the “internet generation succeed.”
The What and Why
Kanojia’s company tries to address the lack of understanding about video game addiction and internet culture in psychiatry. Through his daily YouTube videos and Twitch streams, Dr. Kanojia addresses a multitude of mental health issues and problems that are burdening the online generation. What makes him different is the fact that his solutions are rooted in the ascetic practices of monks living in an Ashram in Southern India.
It was this same ancient wisdom of the monks that helped Kanojia twenty years ago when his video game addiction was on the verge of endangering his academic progress and his future. It was his father, an Indian immigrant doctor, who came up with the perfect solution for his son. Soon enough, Kanojia’s landscape changed from the sprawling bustle of Austin, Texas to an expansive countryside monastery in Southern India that goes by the name Prashanti Kutiram Ashram. Although the sudden change of lifestyle was a hit on the face for Kanojia, in sixty days he managed to attain a new self-awareness that eventually helped him turn his life around. The inner voices and questions regarding the self earlier muted by the buzzing noise of the online world soon surfaced in the peace and quiet and the technological void of the monastery.
“It is a very individualized approach to understanding who you are, where your desires come from, where your actions come from, and I loved it so much because it helped me answer questions that I had always had about myself,” says Kanojia
After graduating, Kanojia decided to focus his professional prowess and his monastery-attained wisdom to help people battling mental health issues due to internet addiction. The number of followers and success of his online platform is proof of the fact that Kanojia’s idea worked.
Kanojia doesn’t have the characteristic solemnity of other psychiatrists. Perhaps that’s why his followers are able to connect with him at a deeper level. And what makes his solutions different is the fact that they are steeped in reality and not tailored to offer an instant temporary high. You might not instantly feel better after one session but it will definitely help you in the long term. Kanjoia’s YouTube videos are much similar to the celebrity blogger Mark Manson’s highly acclaimed work, ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck.” Both hand out hard pills of reality to people that eventually help them turn their lives around.