How To Balance Technology Use And Mental Wellness
Because of modern technology, almost everything is within our reach. However, while it has made our lives more convenient in a lot of ways, it has also caused us much stress and anxiety since its birth. According to reports from the American Psychological Association, eight out of ten Americans are constantly using their gadgets – 18% of this percentage is a group of adults who believe that a tremendous amount of their daily stress is due to technology, and 20% think that they’re more stressed when technology doesn’t work. “Too much time spent scrolling through social media can result in symptoms of anxiety and/or depression,” says Katie Hurley, LCSW.
However, it is evident, though, that technology is something that we have lived with and rely on. It has helped us in many ways to be productive, more relaxed, and to quickly get things done. The key is to find ways of managing the way we incorporate technology use with our everyday life so that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. “Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use,” said senior author Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D.
Here are some tips we can follow so we can use our gadgets in healthier ways.
- Establish a curfew for when you can’t use your phone at the end of the day. The use of gadgets at night is one of the most common reasons for sleep deprivation. This is due in part to the blue light that technological devices emit, which negatively affects one’s melatonin, the sleep hormone. Another reason would be that the content usually stimulates the brain. Something that you see on social media, like a tweet or an interesting photo would be enough to get your mind working instead of putting it to rest. So set a time to turn it off or place it somewhere far from reach.
- Don’t use your phone while you’re driving. It’s just like drinking while driving. Texting or doing other things with your phone while you’re behind the wheel has been the cause of so many accidents and tragedies. So put it into silent just before you get inside your car to avoid looking at it while you’re driving.
- Stay in touch physically. According to Martin Graff Ph.D., “Smartphones have made it far easier for us to stay in touch with relationship partners, even when we are geographically distant.” Mobile phones have made it possible to keep in touch with our loved ones more than before, but it has also enabled us to make excuses not to be there for them physically. Being there for our family, friends, and significant others face-to-face is vital for mental and emotional wellness. When you’re with special people in your lives, try your best to detach from digital technology. Stay truly in touch with them by making useful conversations and wonderful memories.
- Don’t turn on phone notifications. Yes, notifications make it easy for busy moms and dads to retrieve their important emails from their phone. Psychologists found that when people tried to turn off their notifications, they saw lower levels of stress, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness during that experimental period. And surprisingly, those who were asked to keep their notifications on showed lower levels of productivity, which was somehow associated with less focus. Perhaps you can choose to turn on notifications for those that are work-related only and only during work hours. Facebook and Instagram don’t do much for you but add harm than good.
- Recharging and rejuvenating also mean timeout from digital technology. When you want to achieve real relaxation, think about activities where you don’t get to use your mind, such as going to the spa for a massage. Turn off your phone or keep it in silent mode or else you won’t get the full benefits of that massage. You can also go swimming or running, something that will keep your head off your problems at the same time keep you healthy. These are times when you accomplish release and relaxation.