Overall Health Benefits of Unplugging from Technology
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Technology has so many benefits! It facilitates catching up with friends and family, boosts creativity, and makes work more efficient. It connects us in new and wonderful ways.
However, even though it makes your life easier, technology also negatively impacts your physical, emotional, and mental health. That is why balance is key.
To protect your health from too much screen time, try to unplug occasionally. This will allow you to calm down, recharge, dive into your thoughts, enjoy the outdoors, and visit the persons you love.
You can unplug from your computer, smartphone, television, or a combination of all of them. The choice is yours. Do what is best for you.
Keep reading to discover the numerous scientifically proven benefits of unplugging. You can take advantage of them at any time, so make sure to give unplugging a try.
Negative impacts of technology on your health
- Inactivity. You probably lead a sedentary lifestyle if you spend too much time in front of laptops, tablets, or phones. Consider that the longer you are sedentary, the more difficult it will be to get into an active lifestyle.
- Insomnia. Staring at digital screens for too long can disturb the brain’s sleep cycles. This can lead to exhaustion and fatigue. Check out some helpful tips for dealing with insomnia.
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- Vision Problems. Looking at screens for too much time might cause eyestrain. Digital eyestrain symptoms include blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, and pains in other areas of the body, such as the neck or the back.
If you are worried about your eye health, check the 20-20-20 rule for digital viewing. The American Optometric Association recommends this rule. It consists in looking for 20 seconds at something at least 20 feet away after 20 minutes of screen time. Doing this can help reduce the fatigue of your eyes and prevent vision problems.
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- Inability to be empathetic. Technology can harm areas of the brain responsible for empathy and compassion. This can affect your ability to relate to others.
- Isolation. Many technologies, like social media, aim to bring people closer. However, they can also do the contrary. Research shows that individuals who use social media more frequently are more likely to feel socially isolated than those who do not use them as regularly.
- Depression and anxiety. According to research, people with positive contacts and social support on social media are less likely to develop psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety. Still, those with negative online social interactions and reduced online social support experience higher levels of depression and anxiety. In this way, people's perception of their interactions on social networks plays a crucial role in their mental health.
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- Incorrect posture. Using smartphones, computers, and tablets can lead to poor posture. You must have already noticed that while using these devices, you are curved forward and staring down at the screen. This incorrect posture pressures your neck and spine and may cause musculoskeletal problems.
Benefits of Unplugging from Technology
Taking frequent breaks from digital screens can prevent the problems mentioned above and protect your health. It can be very valuable for your well-being.
Here are some reasons to unplug:
Decreases Stress and Anxiety.
Taking a break from technology can reduce stress and anxiety, mainly if you are a teenager. By unplugging, your brain may calm down, relax and be in the current moment.
Ever since smartphones were released, the rate of teen suicide attempts has doubled. Research indicates that social networks might be a determining factor.
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It May Help You When Feeling Overwhelmed.
It is common to feel forced to answer messages or e-mails immediately. Information is constantly circulating, and it can be hard to calm yourself and process it all.
You may feel overwhelmed by all the news you receive and everything happening around you. Taking a break from technology will help you slow down and refocus on yourself.
It Allows You to Focus on Appreciation and Gratitude.
Social media can lead to unnecessary comparisons with other people's lives and online interactions. This can make you feel jealous.
Unplugging from technology allows your mind to reset and feel appreciation and gratitude for all you have been given.
It Gives You More Time to Enjoy Simple Pleasures.
When you take a break from technology, you can do more pleasurable activities like cooking, playing with your pet, or getting some fresh air. This is a fantastic chance to connect with nature!
Doing more activities that you appreciate can increase your happiness and health.
It Makes You Feel Less Lonely.
You may feel lonely and unsatisfied because of the lack of physical contact inherent to technology. Unplugging from technology allows you to focus on face-to-face relationships and communication.
You Will Feel More Present in Your Life.
Do not forget that life is happening every day right in front of you. If you only focus on your screen, you will miss out on opportunities to connect with others in-person.
Powering down will allow your attention, consciousness, and mindfulness to improve. You will be able to enjoy your day without any distractions.
Your Productivity Will Grow.
The distractions caused by your phone throughout the day will likely disrupt your productivity. By disconnecting, you will be more productive and aware.
Your Focus Will Improve.
Research suggests that having your phone close to you, even if turned off, is enough to decrease your focus. Screens will distract you, even if you are not using them.
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You Will Have Better Quality Sleep.
Digital screens emit blue light, which informs your brain to remain alert. This can make falling asleep difficult. Studies also suggest that sleep quality is harmed by mobile usage and social media.
To avoid this, do not look at screens for at least an hour before sleep. Of course, quality sleep is essential to your health, so too much screen time can lead to more than sleep issues.
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Your Relationships Will Be Enhanced.
Disconnecting from technology will offer you more time to spend with your family and friends. It may also increase your empathy for others.
By going screen-free, you will further develop your interpersonal communication skills. This will help you connect with other people offline.
It Will Rewire Your Brain.
Technology can be as addictive as narcotics. It triggers the same neural circuits that narcotics do. Unplugging at least once a week will help you put an end to these patterns.
If you want to discover if you are addicted to technology, you need to turn it off and understand how tempted you are to turn it back on. This will allow you to discover technology's real influence on your life.
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It Takes Away Possible FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is an emerging mental disorder triggered by technology addiction. It represents our fear of being left out, caused by constantly watching online everything happening around us.
Going screen-free combats FOMO since it allows you to live in the present moment.
It Will Help You Find Solitude.
Solitude gives us the necessary tranquility and calmness to assess and reflect on our lives. In such a turbulent world, solitude involves shutting off the noise and screens intentionally.
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It Promotes Creativity.
Technology can inspire us and promote our creativity. However, most of the time we spend in front of screens, we are consuming (e.g., watching movies, playing video games, listening to music) and not creating. This constant consumption of information is not helpful for your creativity or mental health, especially when most headlines we read are negative ones.
Turn off technology if you want to create something and contribute to the world.
It Promotes Physical Contact.
Perhaps you are tempted to isolate yourself in the virtual world. However, the most enjoyable relationships you will have will likely be face-to-face with the people around you.
Meeting in person is always a unique experience, and physical contact is essential to our lives.
You Will Better Manage Your Time.
Have you ever thought about all the time you spend just scrolling on your social media or staring at the TV? A digital detox will allow you to use this time better.
Unplugging is something to consider if you want to improve your time management.
It Prevents Physical Injuries.
While hunched over your technological devices for hours, you put a lot of pressure on your back, eyes, neck, arms, and hands. This can lead to physical issues in these areas of your body, such as text neck syndrome.
Taking a tech break will prevent these problems and give your spine some rest.
Now that you know the benefits of powering-down technology, you might wonder how to find balance. That is why we are sharing some of our tips.
Tips To Start Unplugging
If you need some help starting to unplug, follow our suggestions. We are sure you’ll be able to find time to disconnect from technology.
Do Not Turn on Any Technology When You Wake Up.
It can be an excellent option not to look at digital screens for the first hour after waking up. One hour will not make such a difference or bother you, but it can positively affect the rest of your day.
If you want, you can take advantage of this time to meditate, as it is a great way to start the day and has many benefits.
Go Screen-Free at A Specific Time Of The Day.
Select a specific time of the day to go screen-free purposefully. You can do it at any time and enjoy its benefits.
We recommend that you choose the moment that is the most convenient for you. Doing so will allow it to become a habit sustainable in your life. You can do it, for example, during meal times, in the morning, or the evening before going to sleep.
The time of the day selected by you is not relevant. What is truly relevant is that you have the proper discipline to unplug when that time comes. So, remember, define a moment of the day that works for you and your lifestyle, and be disciplined about it.
Manage Your Time Online.
You can manage your time online appropriately with the support of numerous accessible tools.
One example is Freedom. This app will deactivate your Internet connection during a period of the day defined by you. It is perfect for people who want to gain focus and increase productivity.
Another app that can help you is Selfcontrol. This one will block your access to websites defined by you for a period of the day. You will still have access to the rest of the web. It can be helpful while working, so you do not check your Facebook or Twitter.
You may also want to decrease your presence on social media. Most smartphones allow you to define time limits for social apps. This can help you unplug and may reduce feelings of isolation in several individuals.
Uninstall Any Unnecessary Apps from Your Smartphone.
Explore the apps you have installed on your mobile device and uninstall the ones that feel pointless. This can help you eliminate unnecessary notifications and distractions.
You can also uninstall some apps for only a period, like a week, a month, or even a day. It can be incredibly advantageous for your health to power down from Facebook or other social media for some time.
Take A Prolonged Break from Technology.
Instead of unplugging during a time of your day, you can also choose to take an extended break from technology.
A digital detox can be a great thing to do while on vacation, allowing you to enjoy your time to relax even more. Of course, you should catch up with some friends or family during this time but try to keep technology use to a minimum.
Being able to take a break from technology can be challenging, and only a few do it. Nevertheless, it has significant positive impacts on your health. So, we recommend you learn your balance and discipline to achieve a better lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
The negative impacts of technology on our health are known, especially the psychological ones, like the development of anxiety or depression. Obviously, technology also has its benefits and is essential in our increasingly connected world. So, moderation is the answer.
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Thus, unplugging from technology from time to time can be super beneficial for your health. It will enhance your overall happiness and reduce the chances of acquiring stress injuries.
You do not need to unplug from all technology in your life, and the time of the day you choose to do it is insignificant. Do what works for your lifestyle and stick to it. You will feel the results!