In today’s world we’re digitally connected around the clock. We have 24/7 access to everything from podcasts, to music videos, to celebrity news, sports results, social media and more. Our relationship with, or dependency on, technology means we’re willingly allowing ourselves to be bombarded with information. Some of it useful. Most of it not.
With so many headlines emerging on the negative health outcomes of our tech addiction ask yourself: “Is technology really working for me?”
Here we’re prompting you to think about those digital habits that can harm your mental health, relationships and overall wellbeing. And we have some simple tips you can follow to regain control.
The Internet and Wellbeing
As a society overall technology and the internet are harming our mental, social and physical health. Studies are increasingly linking heavy digital usage to damaging impacts. These include:
- Social isolation
- Lack of social skills
- Warped sense of reality
- Stress and anxiety
- Lack of social and sexual boundaries
The Dangers of Social Media
Social media use, or over use, is one of the biggest digital habits that’s sabotaging our health. The headlines speak for themselves:
- “Help coming soon for social media addicts”
- “I’m being treated for internet addiction”
- “Instagram may be ruining your health, experts warn”
And these are backed by research. For example a recent UK study of 1,500 participants found that Instagram use resulted in:
- Feelings of depression and loneliness;
- Low self-esteem;
- Sleep deprivation and more.
Unhealthy Digital Habits
When it comes to digital habits it’s easy to think ‘but everyone does this, it’s normal’. Here in the problem lies. Behaviours that only a few years ago we would have considered weird are now ‘the new normal’.
Do you agree with three or more of the following statements? If so perhaps it’s time to re-think whether technology is your friend or foe.
- I keep my phone within arms reach overnight
- I scroll through social media within 30 minutes of waking
- My phone is always close by during meal times or when dining out
- I often browse online from the sofa whilst watching TV shows
- I am constantly charging my phone and other devices
- My go to style for connecting with friends is texting versus calling
- I always capture photos or videos of special moments
- My phone comes with me when I’m moving between rooms at home
- Most news stories I read online don’t add value to my day
- I often find myself comparing myself to others online
- Most emails I receive are opened within an hour or so
- I can’t remember the last time I read a (non-digital) book
- More than once I have considered deleting my Facebook account
- I never forgot to take my phone with me to work or the gym
Moderation is Key
Technology has enriched our lives in many ways, not to mention society as a whole. But as with wine, chocolate and cheese moderation is key. Here are our top tips to achieving digital moderation:
- No phones in the bedroom nor close by at meal times
- Limit social media scrolling to once per day – no excuses!
- If you’re watching TV then do just that – no other gadgets allowed
- Buy a hard copy book and devote your commuting time to reading it
- Program your phone not to receive emails between 6pm and 6am
- Be fully present during special moments – no photos needed
- Take a holiday from Facebook and see if you miss it
Less Technology = More Mindfulness
Through regaining control of technology mindfulness becomes much easier. We can be fully present more of the time and can focus on tasks and goals free from distractions. So give it a try – de-clutter your daily life of all things digital and reap the rewards of clarity of thought, richer conversations, better relationships and stillness in the mind.