Am I addicted to my technology? It’s a question I asked myself the other day. I noticed that I was never without at least one device in my hands. The next question was why is that? And what reaction was it causing in me?
A Social Norm Gone Too Far?
As a society, we are tied to our devices, night and day. When was the last time you saw someone without their phone in their hand? Chiropractors are reporting an elevated rate of patients with neck problems due to the constant head down posture brought on by screen time. Now add on the general stress level of the times we are living in. Life is moving faster than ever before in history. Expected response times to emails have gone down, from a couple of days a decade ago to a couple of minutes today.
Humans can only absorb so much stress before it boils over, turning into anxiety. So, it is vital to learn what your warning signs are and understand your triggers.
Keeping Up with the Social Media Jones’
After recognizing that I was addicted to my technology, I also came to realize that it was a potential anxiety trigger for me. I noticed that when I would look at social media sites I tended to feel ‘less than.’ These feelings quite naturally increased my anxiety.
Recent studies have shown that over fifty-five per cent of people have a negative reaction when looking at pictures of others online. These images evoke feelings of jealousy, envy, low self-esteem and competitiveness. There is also an expectation to keep up with the latest viral sensations and live news reports, to stay ‘in the know.’ This ability to access news about disasters and death twenty-four hours a day easily heightens anxiety.
Take A Break
The first step is admitting you have a problem; the second is doing something about it. I decided to change my behaviour regarding my device use. I implemented a digital-free block of time in my day. I chose mornings. Instead of immediately turning on my phone or computer, I now focus on planning, creativity and meditation. This change has allowed me to enter the day more slowly, with my intention clearly set. What I find now is that I am no longer just responding all day long. Instead, I control where and how I show up online.
I have also reduced my exposure to online news. I take some time during my day to log into a trusted news source and simply scan the headlines. This still gives me an overview of international, national and local news without feeling bombarded. If there is a headline that draws my attention, either I’ll read it in the moment, or bookmark it for a later time. These few changes have made a significant difference in my level of productivity, as well as reducing my feelings of nervousness and impending anxiety.
You Can Do It Too
Remember, you can turn off your devices. You can take a break. You can stop texting, emailing, responding, tweeting, constantly scrolling and checking. Focus your attention instead on being present with your family, friends, pets, and neighbours. Your mood and close relationships will thank you. How you manage your online experience can be different, as early as tomorrow.
To our health and wellbeing,