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In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by forms of technology. Our cell phones have become multi-functional devices for home, work, and entertainment. We use computers for a variety of tasks in our daily lives. Gaming systems are the sole source of entertainment for some people. The opportunities to use technology are all around us. Unfortunately, mental health for many has declined as a result.
Our minds and bodies were not designed to function well if overloaded by anything. Overeating causes our bodies to go into overdrive to process the extra food. Getting too much exercise increases your risk for injury and interrupts the body’s natural functions. Even oversleeping can lead to a variety of health risks. So it makes sense that overusing technology would also cause negative effects on our minds and bodies.
How Does Technology Use Affect Us?
Technology definitely has an effect on our minds and bodies. Excessive technology use can be detrimental to our physical, mental, and emotional health. Let’s examine how it can affect us.
Physical Health Effects
When we are using technology for prolonged periods of time in the same position, it can lead to muscle fatigue and posture problems. While this may not be a big problem if it happens occasionally, it can lead to health issues if it has become the way you pass the majority of your time. Focusing intensely on bright or small devices can also lead to eye strain and interrupted sleep due to the effects of blue light.
Mental Health Effects
Excessive technology use can also start to change the way our brains function. When we receive constant pleasure signals from our brains because of things like notifications and text messages, it can cause our brains to be desensitized. This can impact our ability to experience pleasure from any source. Multi-tasking on our devices can also train our brains to have attention-deficit symptoms.
Emotional Health Effects
There are some harmful emotional effects that can be experienced if we are spending too much time on our devices, particularly if we are spending a lot of time on social media sites. While social media platforms can help us maintain our connections to others, they cannot replace real-life interactions. Spending too much time on social media can affect how we experience things like empathy. It can also increase our feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Spending too much time on virtual connections can have the opposite emotional effect as interactions in the real world. When we spend too much time on social media, it can affect how we experience emotions like empathy. It can also increase our feelings of isolation and loneliness if used in place of real connections. All of these things can easily lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
What Is a Technology Fast?
A technology fast is a period of time during which you can make the conscious choice to avoid using certain forms of technology. The length of the time period is solely up to you; it could be anything from one hour a day to one day a week. You also get to decide which forms of technology you will be taking a break from. It may include your handheld device, television, or laptop. It can even be a total technology fast where you get away from all things tech related.
How to Implement a Technology Fast
As with any kind of fasting, the key to success is to start small. You can pick a short period of time to avoid using technology and see how it goes. You could also choose to mindfully scale back your regular usage of technology to prepare for a more intense fast. Only you can decide what will fit best into your lifestyle.
While you are experimenting with different forms of technology fast, it is important to be mindful of how you feel. Take a few minutes to evaluate how you are doing, both when you are using your devices and when you are taking a break. This will help you determine what kinds of benefits you want to get from the experience, which will help you decide what your goals are.
Benefits of a Technology Fast on Mental Health
Besides alleviating some of the negative effects technology can have on us, the point of a digital fast is to make your time more intentional. This can be true both while you are using technology and when you are taking a break from it. While you are fasting from technology, you will most likely experience more clarity of thought. You might become more motivated to accomplish things without technological demands on your time. It will allow you more freedom to explore your creativity as well.
You may also find yourself able to be more present during activities you are participating in during a digital fast. It can enhance the enjoyment you get out of your experiences. You will be able to deepen your connections with others as well as get a firmer grasp on who you are as a person. Giving yourself time away from technology will free up space in your mind for self-awareness.
Taking regular breaks from technology can help you reduce feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. It can also improve your mental functions. You may also find yourself feeling a deeper connection to the world around you. If you need help determining what your goals should be and creating a plan to achieve them, Alter Wellness Care can help. Our top priority is helping our clients maintain positive mental health.
There are a lot of demands on our time in today’s society. Many of these demands are directly tied to the technology we use daily. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed and turn to our devices for distraction, but excessive use of technology can negatively impact our well-being and mental health. At Alter Wellness Care, we understand that the pressures of daily life can be daunting. We want to help our clients achieve a balance and experience a positive sense of self. We have a variety of resources designed to help our clients make goals and achieve them. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 for more information on ways to improve your mental health.