In a world that is so dependent on technology, research shows we spend approximately 11 hours of our day listening, watching, reading or interacting with a device. From TV, laptop and mobile phone there really is not much rest for our already highly wired brains.
In our world today we can’t help but notice that overuse of technology is replacing real relationships with virtual ones but it is also increasing stress and major disaster response to the brain.
Technology addiction is not a diagnosis – yet! It is however a behavioural addiction which can impact our physical, psychological and social lives. The overuse of our phones, can lead to insomnia, decrease of self-regulation, FOMO and impact our work/life balance. There is no doubt the use of technology can improve our lives in many ways but being aware of the mental health and wellbeing impact of these devices is vital.
Maybe it is time we stop and look to audit our technology use. Are our devices becoming the most important part of our life? Are we too afraid to challenge ourselves to recognise this impact?
There is a small list of ‘device behaviours’ that should be individually recognised. The following are all possible indicators of overuse.
- You feel anxious if you can’t find your phone
- You feel you need to check you phone every few minutes
- You are afraid you will miss out on something if you don’t check your phone
- You start and end your day with your phone
- You feel depressed, angry or frustrated after being on social media
If you tick three or more of these indicators, then it is time to set some ‘device boundaries’. Setting these boundaries is making the choice to cause a circuit breaker in your use and reign in what is most important to you in your life.
Choose a realistic goal to set some small device boundaries. The aim is to always use your device in a way that can benefit your health and wellbeing
- Be realistic about time and place
- Set limits – install only useful app notifications
- Beware of ‘double-devicing’ (being on more than one device at a time)
Healthy technology use can begin with going off your device during these daily situations.
- When eating
- When first waking up
- When enjoying your own space
- When with family and friends
- Before going to sleep at night
Social media use and in particular constant scrolling of posts can be detrimental to your mental health and wellbeing. It instils a feeling of missed opportunities and has constant impact on your self-esteem. Limiting your use to 30 mins of social media a day can improve wellbeing and decrease symptoms of depression and loneliness.
Monitor your emotions when you detox. It will give clarity to your reliance on the device. Detoxing can be uncomfortable but having a commitment to this area of your life will ensure a more mindful state of living.
This article was written by our wellbeing team, Angie Hilton, Kate Meadows and Kylie Paatsch.
To get in touch with our wellbeing team, learn more about digital detoxing or organising a funded mental health and wellbeing workshop with your staff, please get in touch with Angie by emailing email@example.com.