Why Should I Unplug?

Imagine a day without screen time. Technology is rooted in almost every aspect of people’s lives. People wear watches, carry phones, or have tablets that keep them connected with everything in the world. For many people, there isn’t a time they aren’t linked to something. There are some good things about technology. However, there are also reasons you should unplug from all of your devices from time to time.

Why Is Technology Good?

There are benefits to being connected to the world outside of our lives. A few good aspects of being surrounded by technology include:

  • Access to mental health services: Due to the widespread use of the internet and cell towers, telehealth is now a reality. You can search online for a therapist, coaching services, or ways to improve your self-care routine. People are no longer reliant on bricks and mortar for mental health care.
  • Spotting health issues: Ever since health monitors have existed, people have been able to uncover their health issues. However, with the addition of wearable technology—like watches and rings—that monitor your sleeping patterns, heart rate, or breathing, you can discover if a health issue exists before it becomes a more significant concern.
  • Keeping you in contact with others: Gone are the days when you went out, and no one could get in touch with you. Sometimes this is a bad thing but think of the positive. If you need a ride, are in trouble, or want to let someone know about something, you easily can with technology.

However, even with the advantages of technology, there remains a troubling side to being linked with everyone and everything 24/7.

Is Technology Bad for Me?

Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health experts worry about the damage being virtually plugged in can have on your mental well-being. These professionals point to the increased risk of anxiety and depression in those that spend excessive time using technology. Excessive screen time and technology use affects your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Some of the adverse effects on your well-being include:

#1. How You Use Your Technology Matters

Dr. Michael Rich explains that the length of time you spend using technology isn’t the problem. His research shows that how you use your phone, watch, or tablet is the problem. Your brain is continuously constructing neural links and eliminating lesser-used cells. Your screen time impoverishes the use of some of your cells, meaning you lose the brain cells you need.

#2. Get Some Sleep

The blue light emitted by phones and tablets disrupts your sleep patterns. The light decreases the amount of melatonin released, a hormone that helps you sleep. Additionally, if you’re awake and texting or engaged in social media, you’re not sleeping.

#3. Overconsumption of Technology

The games you play or the sites you visit help engage the reward system in your brain. Soon, you may find more pleasure from a screen than other things you used to enjoy. As a result, you invest in what’s going on in the game over other people’s lives.

#4. Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being

Beyond the effects that screen time has on your brain, there are potential risks to your mental health. Too often, people follow accounts that don’t always show the reality behind the screen persona. “Influencers” or friends may not post their imperfections or lows. Try to remember that not many wake up looking put together, their relationship may not be as perfect as you think, and social media is not the same as face-to-face contact. Put down the screen and connect with people in real life.

How Do I Unplug?

The reliance on technology for school, work, or social information is undeniable, making it hard to get away from your screens. A total blackout from your phone or tablet may be overwhelming or not practical, so instead, try to take small breaks. What does a small break look like? It may look like:

  • Instead of immediately replying to a message, set up a reasonable schedule to check and respond to your messages.
  • While walking from one place to another, don’t look at a screen. Instead, be in the moment and take in what’s around you. Some call this mindfulness or sensory awareness. Allow yourself to breathe the air, watch people, or just let your mind wander. While you’re letting your mind roam freely, you might develop a solution or a creative alternative to a problem.
  • Leave your phone in another room or away from your bed. The urge to check in quickly or respond to a message can decrease the amount of sleep you get. Most of the time, that quick check turns into minutes or sometimes hours of scrolling or messaging. Of course, if your phone is your alarm clock, it’s okay to leave it in the room, but consider putting it somewhere else other than the nightstand.
  • Get out of the habit of engaging with people via a screen. Instead, make plans to go places or do something with a friend or family member. Face-to-face contact can increase your overall well-being.

There are several reasons why you should unplug from technology. The positive effects a technology detox can have on your mental and physical health are numerous. Decreased screen time can help build the neural connections you need throughout your life. When you put down your phone, you also strengthen your creative abilities and improve sleep patterns. By detoxing from your screens, you clear a path to meaningful connections beyond relationships and activities. Unplugging from your screens allows you to re-connect with yourself. SokyaHealth is here if you need guidance in living without the constant information overload you’re used to. Through the help of our telehealth programs, our therapists and coaches can aid you in learning about yourself. With our comprehensive care program, you can set goals, learn self-care routines, and find inner peace while helping you overcome your struggles. Call SokyaHealth today at (877) 840-6956 for more information on the treatment options available. 

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

Headlight is now collaborating with health plans and companies to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Speak to a Care Coordinator today.