Yep, it’s true. Too much technology can lead to some rather serious issues… like more stress, less sleep, anti-social behavioral tendencies, and a lack of focus. None of which sound all too pleasant.
But what choice do we have? A lot of our daily activities are somehow connected to our phone, tablet, laptop, TV, or connected smart gadget. And for some people, this daily reliance on technology has surged upwards into an addiction, rendering it difficult to make eye contact or to participate in a meaningful conversation.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. All you have to do is stand up for yourself. Be aggressive and unshackle portions of your day from technology.
Establish tech-free zones.
Tech-free zones are especially important at home around your family members. Create areas where technology is not allowed—the kitchen table, your bed, and, yes, the bathroom. Doing this will give you and your family more of an opportunity to connect with one another and to actually look at each other every now and then.
Break your day into parts and disable notifications during some of these times. This can be sectioned off—two hours on and two hours off. Or, you can try disabling notifications between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll finally have the chance to stop working, giving you the time you need to fully de-stress.
Block apps and websites.
There are programs available that will block websites and applications on your PC and connected devices. This is helpful if you don’t want to completely disable your notifications—so your phone is still active, but you aren’t wasting your day to social media, smartphone games, and online shopping. At this point, you can ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”
Keep your mornings to yourself.
The time before work and after work are essential to your mental health. If you spend this time on your phone answering emails and responding to text messages, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. A huge chunk of your day is already devoted to these tasks, so why not give your mind a rest in the morning? Take this time to relax, drink your coffee, and prep yourself for the day.
Hold off on responding.
A big reason technology can become so stressful to people is because of the whole “instant gratification” concept. For instance, you receive a text message, and you instantly respond. Then another one and another one and another one—all of which you respond to immediately. After so long, you start to feel like people expect you to respond immediately, and this feeling is a surefire way to create anxiety. No law says you have to respond to social media posts, text messages, or emails immediately. So don’t do it. Some people might be upset at first (like a spouse or coworker who is used to getting instant responses from you), but eventually, they’ll get it. All you have to do is take a stand.
The pace of modern life has given us enormous gifts but also requires us to consciously tune out the world’s external stimuli if we want to truly “tune in” to our experiences, our relationships, and a deeper understanding of concepts and ideas.
For adults, mindfulness exercises, writing poetry, taking walks in the park, or merely leaving all our devices turned “off” for long stretches of the day can allow us to slow down our minds to the pace at which they were meant to work.