I think just about everyone knows that too much screen time is bad for kids and their developing brains. But now research is showing that screen time isn’t so great for grown-up brains, either.
Technology addiction is real. Much like drugs, the instant hit of dopamine we receive each time we get a like, notification, text, or email, puts our brains on a continuous gratification seeking loop to get that happy feeling all over again. The constant stimulation is exhausting to our brains, not to mention a major time suck.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in mindless scrolling only to realize an hour has gone by and you’ve got less time for that walk with your dog, to finish that presentation, or snuggle with your kids. And for some people, the over use of social media can lead to feelings of alienation and depression. They compare their lives to the shiny (and often altered) images of their friends. Some people become so invested in the online lives of others that they develop anxiety related to “FOBLO” – fear of being left out. And because they are only reading their friend’s posts, instead of talking to them, there is a loss of real, old-fashioned communication that fosters the need for human connection.
So too much screen time can lead to stress, anxiety, and less-than-healthy habits. What’s the solution?
A digital detox.
A digital detox can be for an hour, an afternoon, a weekend, or even a week-long vacation (gasp!), but all of us could use a break from technology for at least a little bit. Taking time to unplug can help break the dopamine receiving-seeking loop and give your brain time to recharge.
Here are other reasons to unplug:
- It will put you back in touch with people. IRL. Ever find yourself texting your spouse, partner or best friend while you’re sitting in the same room?
- You’ll be more productive at work. If you are constantly responding to every little ping and ding, your brain has little energy left to solve complex problems, or tackle other tasks that require deeper thinking and focus.
- You’ll set a good example, especially for children and teens. You’ll also show others that you’re ready to listen without distractions and that what’s happening right in front of you in that very moment is more important than whatever your phone just alerted you to.
- You may sleep better at night. Researchers believe that the blue-light from screens inhibits the release of melatonin, a hormone that sends signals to our bodies that it’s time to sleep. Charge your phone in another room and use an old-fashioned alarm clock instead.
The thought of a digital detox may seem unnerving and even more stressful than the stress from not unplugging. If a digital detox feels impossible, start by turning your phone off at meals, and consider making a “no electronics at the table” rule for everyone to follow. Take a real lunch break during the workday and if you must check in when on vacation, allocate a small window of time each day to do so and the rest of the time actually take your vacation.
If our team can find ways to unplug, you can too. So go ahead! Unplug! Even if its just for a few hours. You’ll feel much better afterwards and more prepared to give us a ring or email us about your marketing needs.