Getting Real Health - Holistic Health, Nutrition & Fitness Coach

Is Digital Stress Affecting Your Health?

Reasons why you should unplug from the digital world.

Is Digital Stress Affecting Your Health?

In today’s world, we are using technology more than ever. With all of these new gadgets and easy access to information, we are spending more and more time plugged into the digital world. But are all of these technological stimuli healthy for us?

According to recent statistics, 78% of American adults and 95% of American teens are online with 61% of them admitting to being addicted to the Internet. In 2010, it was reported that we use media (TV, phones, computers) about twelve hours a day, up from only 5 hours in 1960.

The average computer user checks 40 websites a day and switches computer programs 36 times an hour.  That means we switch tasks every 2 minutes. And while that might sound that we’re getting more done, neuroscientists would have a different theory.

According to many studies, technology overload can lead to extra stress on our brains. This stress can negatively affect our memory, accuracy, productivity, empathy, goal setting and decision-making. For example, people who are constantly interrupted by e-mail report increased stress, which have been shown to reduce short-term memory. Some neuroscientists believe that our brains were not designed to handle the amount of information we take in on a daily basis.

The digital stress most of us experience can make us feel anxious, affect our sleep patterns and also affect our heart rate.

But alas, there is help for us techie junkies! It’s time to connect less with the digital world and re-connect with our real lives. Here’s some ways to achieve this:

  • Schedule set times during the day when you will check and answer emails. An example schedule is checking email three times a day - 8am, 1pm and 5pm.
  • Designate times to check social media and set a timer for 20 minutes for each session.
  • Disable notification alert sounds to avoid reacting every time you hear a “ding”.
  • Make sure you have clear set boundaries on when you can and cannot be reached.
  • Unplug from the digital world once a week. (GULP!) Yes, Facebook and Candy Crush can wait one day for you. Instead, take a walk without your iPod, engage in face-to-face connections with people, garden, take up a new hobby - anything that will help relax your mind and body.

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