The world is now more connected than ever before, for better or worse. Although the Internet and improved telecommunications technology allow us to have instant contact with almost anyone around the globe, this can be both beneficial and detrimental. A study showed that Americans spend up to 10 hours a day staring at screens, watching TV, and browsing the Internet. While many benefits come with our current dependency on technology, it also puts us in jeopardy of missing some experiences.
Even if we’re watching our DVRs from a park bench or scrolling through social media feeds poolside, we miss out on something when we make technology the primary focus of our lives. Too much screen usage means we’re sitting or laying down too long, and probably indoors. There’s something to be said about the benefits of fresh air and sunlight, not to mention good old-fashioned exercise. That’s why it’s important to remember to unplug ourselves from technology often and get some face time with the real world.
The benefits of logging off are plentiful, especially if you spend that time outdoors. Research has found that repeated exposure to social media can exacerbate feelings of depression and stress, and don’t forget the health issues that arise when we spend too much time sitting and consuming electronic media. Using all your time to sit indoors and gawk at your screens also opens you to a lot of recycled air and artificial lighting, neither of which benefits you in terms of health.
Putting some restrictions on your technology usage also can lead to significant life changes. You could think about trading in your touch screen phone for a simpler cellphone that can’t connect to email or the Internet. You might contemplate putting a limit on your screen time the same way you would restrict your calorie intake on a diet. Reading a book instead of staring at your phone during your commute also can work wonders for your mood as a way to unplug.
If you’re looking for ways to de-stress, the checklist accompanying this post can provide you with some basic tips. Use the unplugging checklist, and you may see some benefits right away in terms of your mood and well-being.