Is technology stressing you out or is it our addiction and habits to technology which are causing us the additional stress? There is no doubt that our technology fuelled lives have their perks. We can now connect with people all over the globe with the click of a button, access information instantly, and be entertained for hours on end. But this constant connection to technology comes at a cost to our health.
A growing body of research has linked extended screen time to a host of health problems, including sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and increased risk of obesity. And while we may enjoy the many benefits of technology, they can also come at the expense of face-to-face interactions, physical activity, and even our mental well-being.
If you’re concerned about the impact that technology might be having on your health, there are some simple steps to reclaim your life so you don’t become a slave to your smartphones and social networking sites. You might find after reading this article that you finally see your levels of stress decline for the first time in years.
Is Technology Bad for Your Health?
Stress brought on by technology can be subtle in nature. You probably don’t notice it – until you notice it. We’re so used to it that we don’t realise it’s a symptom of stress and quite possibly, technology addiction. A study run in America showed that today, 92% of Americans had a mobile phone and that 90% of them hardly ever part from it.
For example, here are some symptoms which often go unnoticed but are triggered by technology use:
- We feel stressed when we haven’t checked our phones in a while.
- We left our phone at home but still panicked about not being able to access it for a few hours.
- We can’t put our phones down even whilst driving, crossing a road or even spending time with family, distracting our focus and attention.
- We can’t leave our phones or devices alone for more than an hour without panicking.
- We experience the fear of missing out (FOMO). That feeling of dread just because you missed a party but saw on social media what a “great time” everyone was having.
- We feel bad when we haven’t replied to a message right away and feel like we have to explain ourselves every time.
- You have increased anxiety from a lack of context caused by an abrupt message response and read too much into it.
- You panic about the battery going flat on your phone and not being able to charge it up.
Of course, the levels of these stressors can be higher or lower depending on what you’re doing at the time. If you’ve broken down in the middle of nowhere at night and you have no battery – pretty stressful. Enjoying a BBQ with friends and your phone battery runs out – not so much.
Social media adds to this pressure too with women experiencing 7% higher stress levels than men. This is because social media users are often almost four times as likely to experience social isolation than those who do not, according to a 2017 survey of young adults.
Increased social pressures to keep connected and up to date with the latest viral videos and trends can take over your personal time and an office worker can find themselves completely lost in a constant scroll for hours per day reducing their productivity and raising stress in people around them. Given the addictive nature of technology, they might not even be aware they are doing it.
In another study, the Children’s Society found that:
- Most young people were happy about their digital lives. 92% said they ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed that they liked what they do online.
- At the same time, young people regarded some impacts of social media as being ‘mixed’. 39% said this in relation to ‘How do you feel about yourself? and 13% said the impact on school life, and their relationship with other children and teachers at school was ‘mostly negative.
Interestingly, a 2016 systematic review investigated whether or not social media networks and mental health are linked. The authors saw mixed results. People who had more positive outcomes and social support from their social media profiles appeared to have less depression and anxiety. For example, they received more likes or validation online for their content and character.
However, the opposite was also true. Individuals who perceived that they had more negative interactions and feedback online and who were more susceptible to social comparison to others, experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression. There definitely appears to be a link between social network platforms and psychological health. The determining factor in this link is the variety of interactions people feel they’re having on those networks and the reactions that they are also receiving.
The Impact of Technology on Your Physical and Mental Health
The impact of digital technology and online activity is all having an impact on our physical and mental health, whether we notice it or not. As our relationship with technology grows ever stronger, our everyday lives are changing.
The way human interaction happens is changing. The way personal interactions happen, is changing. The way online interactions happen is changing, especially with new technology such as virtual reality and the transition into Web3.
Constant Use of Technology Can Be Mentally Draining
When we use any kind of technology, it requires our brain to work harder than if we didn’t use it at all. This can cause what’s known as cognitive fatigue, where your brain becomes drained and fatigued from having to work harder than it usually does.
It’s similar now to the well-known phenomenon known as decision fatigue. It’s why Obama (when in office) and Steve Jobs, almost always wore the same clothes, it was one less decision to make in their day.
A study done by the University of Michigan looked at the effect of using laptops on sleeping patterns. What they found was that using a laptop for reading, writing, or watching videos before bed can negatively impact the quality of your sleep.
This is because your brain is working harder to process all the information you’re consuming. This leads to your brain producing higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. These higher levels of cortisol can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Technology can also cause cognitive fatigue in other ways. It can take some people more time to process information when reading on an electronic device. As well, trying to multitask between different devices can be mentally draining as well, less productive and thus increase your background stress so that you feel constantly drained – but can’t work out why.
Is Technology Use Bad For Your Health Longterm?
One of the most notable ways that technology can affect your mental health is by increasing your risk for depression and anxiety.
According to a study done by clinical psychologists at the University of Copenhagen, people who use social media to communicate are more likely to become depressed than people who don’t use social media at all. This is because when you use social media, you’re constantly being reminded of everyone else’s seemingly perfect lives. This can cause a negative loop of negative re-enforcement in some people and that their lives are failing by comparison – even if this isn’t true.
Not only that, but people who use social media are also more likely to compare themselves to others when communicating with them digitally. Seeing all of someone else’s positive traits, paired with your own perceived shortcomings can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.
This can, in turn, increase your risk for depression and anxiety. It’s a downward spiral.
Electronic Screens May Be Damaging Your Eyes
As we spend more and more time staring at our computers and handheld devices, the amount of eye strain we’re experiencing is bound to increase.
Studies show that the average person spends 11 hours staring at a screen, which is more time than we spend sleeping! This high amount of screen use can cause eye strain and even eye damage in some cases. Desktops, laptops, TVs, tablets and your mobile device all count as time staring at a screen (even if it doesn’t feel like you are).
One of the most notable ways that this can negatively affect your health is by increasing your risk for macular degeneration, which is a condition that leads to permanent vision loss. A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen found that the type of light emitted by screens and other electronic devices is more harmful than natural light. This harmful light can increase your risk for macular degeneration.
Technology also has a big impact on inducing eye strain, due to:
- The amount of time we spend staring at screens.
- The amount of screen glare coming off the screen at night – even in dark mode.
- Sitting too close to a screen.
- Reducing the number of times we should normally be blinking through increased focus on a screen for long periods, leads to dry eyes.
- Poor posture causing to poor viewing angles and increased headaches and vision problems.
To avoid this, you should always take regular breaks and make sure you get regular eye tests. There is nothing more uncomfortable than eye strain. If you often get headaches sitting at a screen, it could be a sign that you need to change your prescription on your glasses, or indeed perhaps a need to start wearing glasses.
Your Technology Use May Be Affecting Your Mental Health
Another way that technology impacts our mental health is by contributing to stress and anxiety. As we’ve explored, this is often due to the fact that technology often requires us to use more of our mental energy.
To combat the stress and anxiety related to technology, it’s important to take time for yourself. Make sure that you’re disconnecting from your devices for at least an hour per day, and try to avoid using your devices as a way to distract yourself from what’s really going on in your life. You can easily find yourself in a downward spiral just because you are tired, and begin to interpret information in a negative light.
Technology is Likely Reducing Your Physical Activity
The human body is made to move, but technology generally makes us sedentary doing a lot of the heavy lifting for us. Doctors are even beginning to call it the “sitting disease”.
The advent of standing desks and even treadmills under our desks are starting to deal with this trend and have a positive impact, but the fact remains, sedentary life leads to a rise in disability and diseases:
- Increased weight gain and obesity.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- The risk of premature death.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Increases your risk of colon cancer.
- An increase in high blood pressure.
- An increase in depression.
This is why if you’ve had a hard day at the office, it’s always a good idea to take a walk and not switch on the gaming console, but to do something physically active in the day or evening, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
Is Technology Bad For Your Health When You Sleep?
Using your devices before bed can cause some issues, but there are even more problems that can arise if you like to listen to music on headphones. When listening to music on headphones before bed, you’re likely blocking out the sound of everything else, including any outside noises that could help you fall asleep.
There is also research to suggest that music can have a significant impact on your sleeping patterns. Some types of music can make you more alert, while others can help you fall asleep faster. If you like listening to music before bed, try to avoid listening to music that is overly stimulating. Instead, opt for music that is slow and melodic.
You could also look to using apps like the Calm App and Headspace. These typically have programs within them to help you slow your mind down and begin resting the body. Even 5 minutes can make all the difference using box breathing by bringing your nervous system into a relaxed state.
Is Technology Good or Bad?
Our digital lives and lives, in general, can benefit greatly from the use of technology when we use it as a tool.
Technology has literally changed our lives. Here are some of the positives technology has brought to our lives.
- We can access information across multiple devices.
- We can now work remotely, communicate and collaborate from anywhere.
- Track and check our health and fitness relatively accurately just by wearing a watch or heart rate monitor.
- Watch our favourite TV shows whenever and wherever we want.
- Connect with friends and family anywhere in the world.
- We can choose from a wider range of products thanks to eCommerce.
- Monitor our homes remotely for intruders for peace of mind.
- Technology has dramatically increased our productivity and efficiency.
And so much more! There are so, so many positives.
As with anything, there are also negative side effects too.
- Technology can be highly distracting.
- Technology can become addictive.
- It can make us sedentary and lazy (we don’t even need to go shopping anymore if we don’t want to).
- Can cause poor posture with knock-on effects on our health later in life.
- Increase eye strain and headaches.
- Disrupt our sleep.
- Affect our mood and emotions.
- Increase our anxiety in a moment.
The stress can slowly build up in the background and feel like it’s weighing you down. Don’t let it. Is technology stressing you out or is it the way you are using technology and reacting to unimportant demands which are causing it?
The Benefits of Technology
Technology has drastically changed the way we live and communicate. What used to be done with pen and paper is now done with the click of a button. While some may view this as a bad thing, there are actually several benefits that come with living a digital life.
One of the biggest benefits is that it’s much easier to stay connected with friends and family. With social media sites, you can instantly see what someone is up to and easily reach out to them if you want to chat. You can also connect with people from all over the world who share similar interests as you. We can also quickly email or jump in on a video call to anyone, almost from anywhere on numerous digital devices.
Another benefit is that you have access to a wealth of information at your fingertips. Whether you’re looking for recipes, instructions on how to fix something, or just want to read about current events, you can find it all online.
Digital life also enables us all to be more creative. With internet-based programs, people can create digital art, music, and videos. They can also start their own businesses or blogs. Finally, the digital world provides a lot of information and resources. People can easily find online articles, tutorial videos, and forums to help them with whatever they are working on.
In a lot of ways, your digital life makes your real life much easier. Can you imagine a world now where search engines didn’t exist and you had to trundle down to the library? It might be nice for a month for a digital detox, but after a while, that may impact your human relationships too!
Is Technology Stressing You Out? How to Find Balance
If you eat too much of the wrong thing, you might put on weight. But do it in moderation and you’ll be just fine. It’s the same with technology.
I’m a technology enthusiast. I am driven by a desire to help, to connect with people and to work faster, and smarter and get more done with less. I love exploring gadgets, apps and digital strategies and the impact they can have on people’s lives (for better or worse) and how they can improve productivity for businesses and organisations. When you’re working on optimising content for clients and trying to get websites to the top of Google it can become addictive. But even I have come to realise just how addictive technology can be, and the way it can alter your brain and the way we think. I recognise the importance now of finding balance and having time away to “recharge”. I also now am acutely aware that you are not as productive when you haven’t taken a break for over an hour and definitely after two. Very often, stepping away and coming back to a task enables me to complete it much faster.
Technology moves fast, it never stops and there is always something else to know, and we’re always working on and improving our software. What I hadn’t ever thought about was what it’s like on the other side of the coin, the impact it really has on the end user.
The story below highlighted to me just how entrenched the younger generation is with technology even if they don’t see it that way.
On October 4, 2021, (at 15:39 UTC to be totally precise), the social media platforms of Facebook (now Meta) and its subsidiaries, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Mapillary, and Oculus, became temporarily unavailable for a period of six to seven hours. This failed to prevent users from attempting to click through “Login with Facebook” to access other websites.
At 7:30 pm I was deep into a tennis match and thought nothing of it, until my meeting the next morning.
During the meeting, the outage came up in conversation. It began with:
“Oh my God, I was like so stressed last night, I didn’t know what to do”.
The conversation continued in a flurry about how the evening had unfolded and how the outage had caused great distress with people unable to communicate as usual. What became apparent to me, was how their sense of control and context of the tool was gone and they felt anxious about when it would come back on again so they could continue to communicate and connect with friends and family.
I was stunned, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been. After all, we all know how frustrating it is when electricity switches off, and social media and information are like people’s electricity. It’s how many now connect, minute by minute. Rarely do we text these days and these services have become ubiquitous in a lot of people’s lives. It forms the basis of many of our social interactions whether we realise it or not.
I suppose I have a different view of all things Internet and still view messaging apps and the Internet at large as a tool. This infomediary source is slowly growing into an entertainment source with streaming services replacing my previously rare terrestrial TV habits.
The takeaway for me from the meeting was, to be so attached to technology so tightly, cannot be a good thing for everyone. That a digital detox really should be a must from time to time, just to regain a sense of self, remove the digital clutter and perhaps even reset the neural activity (the Internet and social media have now been proven to release dopamine in the brain akin to that found in addicts). By this, I don’t mean disappearing for days on end, but taking some time per day to yourself, where everything is quiet and you just have time to think and check in with yourself.
However, your digital detox might be an hour a day, it might be a Sunday off or you might say once a month for a whole weekend I am switching off my tech. Try to find what works for you so you desensitise yourself to the “always on” feeling you likely have during the working week.
How Does Technology Stress You Out?
Technology is everywhere now, it’s even available in your fridge or wall clock! It means it’s hard to escape from it. We use it for work, school and entertainment. So how does technology stress you out?
- It’s Always On: There’s no escape from email notifications, texts, and social media updates. This constant connection can lead to feelings of anxiety and FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s difficult to switch off because it follows you around almost everywhere from smartphones, smart TVs, and smart speakers. You’re constantly connected.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Technology is great when it increases our productivity. But, you can also track too much. With To Do List apps and habit tracking apps, you can receive a relentless amount of reminders as you check things off. Sometimes, you can’t meet these expectations though, and streaks become broken which can lead to a sense of unnecessary disappointment.
- Technology Distracts You: Technology can be inherently distracting. Your mind can be on something else or counting down to the moment that you must check in on your online followers. This isn’t healthy. The constant distraction can have a serious impact on our productivity and focus. We’ve all had it, we sit down to do some work and an email popup comes onto the screen demanding an answer. All your focus and attention are now diverted from the initial task at hand.
- Continuous Background Stress: Background stress is a risk factor for poor sleep quality and higher evening fatigue throughout the week. This can also seep into social events making us feel more stressed than we ordinarily would do, and start catastrophising events beyond the event that they are. You might also find yourself forgetting things and just feel like your mind is heavy and always elsewhere. A lot of this comes from technology always being on and it can be difficult to find out what’s causing it. Go 1 to two hours without any technology (even TV) and you will feel so much better for it. It will give your mind a well-earned break and you’ll start feeling better again.
- Constant Feeds: The content never stops, whether it’s news bulletins, social posts, articles, or videos, it’s constant. This increases the desire to always be in the know. The problem is that a lot of the latest information is a knee-jerk reaction. The quality comes later when people have had a chance to digest it.
- An Over-Reliance: There’s an app for that. It seems technology has an answer for everything. This means we can all begin to over analyse things and see trends which really aren’t there. It can add additional stress to your flow, a background niggle that because of x you are now behind on.
- It’s Technical: Not all technology is created equal. We might get a new device and struggle to get it set up. We might use a software product and find a bug which is driving us nuts. We might find our Internet is not optimised for streaming or simply insecure and we lack the knowledge on how to secure it.
10 Tips on How to Keep Technology from Stressing You Out
How can we combat background technology stress in our lives? Well, firstly, we need to be aware of the problem and spot the symptoms outlined in this article. Once we are aware of how easily we can be distracted by our technology, we can start to take steps to avoid it. This might mean keeping our devices out of sight when we are trying to concentrate on something, or setting ourselves specific times during the day when we allow ourselves to check them.
Here are some more tips I have picked up over the years, which may or may not work for you. Anyone that knows me knows, that sometimes when things need to be done, these often go out the window, but it’s how I try to keep a balance and perspective on technology and try to stop it stressing me out and quiet my mind and remain focused on tasks at hand.
Disconnect for Focused Work
If you haven’t read the book “Deep Work by Cal Newport”, it’s worth a look. It’s all about the ability to focus solely on a cognitively challenging task for a period of time, distraction-free. Responding instantly, to a message, direct message or state of the world isn’t doing your brain any good.
Of course, you can’t always just “disappear off the grid”, it’s not possible, but it’s best to set aside two hours a day to focus on the one key task you need to get done so you give it your full attention. Your quality of work and life will improve. You will get more done. When you initially try it you will want to engage with your phone and email as normal, but the more you do it the easier it gets.
If you struggle to completely focus and disconnect from your phone, then buy yourself a Faraday bag or box to pop your phone in. It will remove all connections to your outside world. You can also use the Freedom app to disconnect the Internet from your phone too. You can also get lockboxes that time out and don’t let you access your device until the time has passed. The only problem is when you then need to use your phone for two-factor authentication access – you’re a bit stuck!
Sometimes, you’ll no doubt get sent tasks to do via email. You’ll pop the email into your ToDo folder or open them up and get on with them. The trouble is, as you keep your emails open, more emails come in and distract you from the task. The solution to this is to pop your email client into Offline mode. In outlook, it’s usually on the send and receive tab. In pressing this, you are working offline with your emails so not receiving any new ones. When you’ve cleared your inbox or done what you need to do, you can then turn the offline mode back on. It’s a handy email management tip if you’re ever feeling like you’re being swamped on a daily basis and can’t keep on top of your inbox.
All notifications in technology are designed to keep you alert and divert your attention. They are designed to keep you addicted.
Of course, some notifications could be life and death, depending on your job. But for many of us, notifications are merely annoying even if you don’t realise it yet. When you think about it, what does it matter if you don’t reply to a message right away or don’t respond within 5 minutes to an email (unless you’re in customer service and it’s your job)?
If you are focused on a task and you are interrupted by a message which is unrelated to the task you are focused on, studies have shown that it can take up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain your focus and settle back down.
Distractions are like those “got a minute?” meetings which last for 15 and take away your focus on the task at hand. The arrival of chat apps in business has its place, but they can also be a burden if things pop up when you least expect them.
As well as your phone, always remember to switch off notifications on your desktop and tablet devices too when you really need to focus.
Concentration is like a muscle, each time you get distracted, it gets weaker.
Schedule Meetings and Calls
If you can, try to schedule calls and meetings. This one is a little controversial but here’s the thinking behind it.
Have you ever been fully engrossed in a task, or at the checkout and someone phones you up out of the blue asking a key question and needing an instant response? Or something along those lines? You might be slightly agitated, not in a good mood or literally thinking about something completely different at the time. It doesn’t put you in the best frame of mind to handle the quite innocent request.
If you schedule your calls and meetings you obtain the following benefits:
- You are able to commit your full attention to the meeting or call.
- You are prepared for any discussion being had.
- You are respecting your customer or client’s time and your own.
- You are not distracted from whatever else it was you were doing so you remain calm.
- You aren’t “on edge” and in a reactionary mode.
It can really help schedule your day and allow you to “chunk” tasks, meetings and calls together and provides you time to prepare. Of course, sometimes ad-hoc calls need to be taken, but you will always be calmer if you’re prepared for whatever comes next.
If you hold regular meetings with someone, you can keep an agenda pad, and when you have ideas or thoughts before the next communication with them, you can jot them down and fully discuss your ideas. It also gives you time to think things through.
If someone does call you and you can’t pick up, just make sure you call them back.
Focus on What You Can Control
We can’t always control things in our digital lives – such as Facebook going down. So focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
Technology and engineering teams for example need time to work a problem out. If something goes wrong, it can take time to find the problem, review solutions and implement the solution. Sometimes it’s instant, sometimes it takes more time. Focusing, and paying attention to detail gets the job done faster
If you’ve done everything you possibly can and you’re waiting on a team member, don’t fret because you will likely make them more stressed than they already are which means things will likely take longer to get resolved.
Avoid Devices One Hour Before Bed
Do your best to avoid stimulating TV, news and emails before bed. Try to take an hour off and read a book, or your Kindle (don’t use a tablet due to the blue light being emitted), or take a hot bath or shower. You can also get a piece of paper and write down everything you need to get done tomorrow or write down something that’s really bothering you. You can always rip it up if you need to.
I wonder how many people have lost hours of sleep to great detriment to their health because they checked their email 5 minutes before falling asleep which dramatically raised their stress levels. Or how many checked the news and were informed of the latest end-of-the-world stories right before they were about to wind down?
When you’re tired, no response is going to be a good one.
Sleep was often overlooked as being “weak”, but the latest studies show that sleep plays a vital role in our emotional and physical wellbeing. Sleeping longer can also make us smarter and lose weight too! Find out how to sleep better here.
Plan Your Day On Paper
This one actually works – and it took me a while to accept this.
Over the years I have tried a myriad of planning tools. Each has its pros and cons. But you cannot beat writing things down on paper.
There are a few benefits to this:
- You are free to write or draw whatever you need to do and are not limited by the software you are using.
- Your brain seems to retain the information better – you can see what’s ahead easier.
- When planning, you retain date information better.
- Putting pen to paper seems to make things feel like more of a commitment than just writing them into a digital tool.
- It feels better when ticking off a to-do list item.
- It gives you time away from staring at a screen and time to think freely.
- You weirdly feel more in control.
Each day gets planned out in my oh-so-old-fashioned Daytimer (a US company but you can get them in the UK or a Filofax or Franklin Covey planner will do a similar job) and where appropriate team tasks get allocated across our project management software.
Anything like scheduled meetings, phone calls and tasks also goes into Microsoft Outlook, a software tool I have used since 2004 and now just couldn’t go without.
In planning your day, it will also put you in a proactive mood, not a reactionary one. If you can, try to limit your email reading to twice or three times a day and schedule it into your day. It removes some of that fear of missing out that we all get where we think someone has got in touch with an urgent matter. If it’s really, really urgent, believe me, you’ll know about it as they will contact you in other ways.
Sometimes, Delay Your Response
If any of have you ever seen the film “The Darkest Hour” with Gary Oldman depicting Winston Churchill, then the one takeaway that was abundantly clear to me, was that for each major decision, time was taken.
This elicited a careful response and in some cases, speeches which are now infamous.
Fast forward to today and it’s a 24-hour news cycle with everyone wanting to know everyone’s opinion about something straight away. The news even tries to predict what someone going to say before they’ve even said it. You only need to look at sports, where the person in the arena has just lost or won and a microphone is thrown in their face before they’ve even had a chance to compose themselves.
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in a stream of consciousness, which does no one any good. Take your time and make your words count when it matters. Always take a breath if you feel yourself getting angry or anxious relax, and then respond.
Check Your Information Sources
Information can make or break your day.
Short-form content found on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter etc is all full of experts telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing in 20 seconds or less. The problem with this is it’s usually out of context and the best of the best at it even use it to spread fake news. They will even twist facts to suit their own narrative or agenda and aggressively attack anyone that has a different point of view.
It’s dangerous. It’s a disease. And it’s growing at a rate of knots.
It’s no wonder technology is seen as a major factor in mental health problems.
I never try and let it infect me. Just because it’s in the paper or online doesn’t mean it’s true.
It pains me to say it, but Donald Trump is the master at this which caught opponents off guard. Sadly we’re starting to see similar tactics in the UK. I’ll always try and get different sources or angles or something to avoid a biased view as best I can.
I am also not sure if this is right or if it’s just me, but today everyone seems to have a microphone. That what they say must be true.
The best example of this I can use is when you see a journalist during an interview. It used to be all about the person being interviewed, but more and more interviews have become more combative trying to get a point of view across or trying to get a “gotcha moment” instead of just reporting on the news from a factual basis of the events that happened. I believe it’s created a great distrust within different generations of the public and has inflamed fake news and supported its growth into mainstream conversations.
Rightly or wrongly, I always question why someone’s opinion matters. If they have 20 million followers, it doesn’t mean they have all the answers. They might just be very good at playing the algorithm or seeking attention. Equally, the rise of trolling is simply unacceptable and the sooner big tech solves and holds people to account for comments made, the better. It’s the most damaging trend in technology I have seen and it’s all down to social media companies not being held accountable.
I sometimes question whether this is in their best interests. Especially when it seems to be the most dramatic and outrageous information (news stories) that gets the highest traction.
Get Outside and Move Each Day
Being couped up behind a digital device does no one any good in the long term. Always try to get your body moving. Take the dog out for a walk. Play some sport. Stretch. Do anything to get your body moving even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll make better decisions and be much more productive.
We all do it. We sit there and go I just need to get this last … bit … done. And 45 minutes have gone by. If you stopped, walked and made yourself a drink (not whiskey!), you might have done it in 10.
One of the best things to do at lunch is to take a short brisk walk outside. A number of people I bumped into during COVID lockdowns did this and it’s funny because we’re all now back working and no one does it anymore. The irony was that people generally said they felt better for doing it and had much more productive afternoons. You will also come up with new ideas and have brand new thoughts you otherwise wouldn’t have had as your mind relaxes and things in a whole new way.
Exercise promotes both memory and problem-solving abilities through direct and indirect means. The general benefit of physical exertion stems from its ability to lower insulin resistance, decrease inflammation in the body, and stimulate the release of growth factors that stimulate the health of brain cells and improve the creation of new blood vessels in the brain.
Exercising helps improve your quality of sleep, concentration, and mood, and reduces anxiety and stress. Problems in these areas often cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. Short-term breaks can also improve your posture and musculoskeletal strength and conditioning.
You can also use this time to either completely disconnect from technology and your digital life, or put in some headphones and enjoy relaxing or regenerating music, or even an audiobook.
Backup Your Data and Update Your Apps and Devices
One of the biggest stressors with technology is the loss of data. This could come in the form of your digital files such as work documents, photos down to your emails and electronic notes. Make sure you have a cloud backup solution in place or at least an external hard drive or USB stick plugged in for your data. The best way is to automate your backups but doesn’t rely on file syncing services such as OneDrive as they are not backup solutions. If a file corrupts on sync you might not be able to get the file back after versioning is overridden.
You should also make sure you keep your devices and apps up to date. Many releases keep software and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches to ensure your data and personal information remain safe. Don’t ignore these updates even if they are a pain. You will be glad you did. If anything goes wrong …. no problem … because you’re backed up right?
I would also recommend that you use a password manager. We have so many passwords to remember, and writing them down on bits of paper is not the answer. Not only will a password manager keep you secure, but it will also speed up your use of technology too as you will be able to nip about through multiple websites much faster.
Is Technology Stressing You Out? Key Takeaways
Technology does have some definite benefits, but it can also have some intense drawbacks to your quality of life and mindset. Make sure to be always aware of how your use of technology may be negatively affecting your health. Remember that technology is a tool that can, and should be switched off, from time to time (just not when you’re at work unless you are performing “deep work”).
If you do notice that technology is negatively affecting your mental or physical health, it’s important to take steps to combat this. Try to limit your time using your devices, and make sure to take time for yourself to truly disconnect from the digital world. Go and enjoy a hobby or catch up with friends face to face, or simply read a book without distraction.
The key to a good digital life is to manage it well and reap the benefit without taking it too far or becoming too emotionally invested in it such as noticing when you might be constantly scrolling through social media news channels and feeds.
No matter what realm you find yourself in the future with Web3 and virtual realities, the key is to remember that you’re still on planet earth, and you’re also only human.
If you don’t manage your digital life properly then the information overload can ruin your mood, raise your stress level, make you feel like you’re missing out (when you’re really not) and impair your judgment. It can be the fastest way to trigger negative emotions which can take you away from what really matters, especially in the here and now.
The mind, like the body, needs rest from time to time. You should never feel guilty if you find the need to simply unplug and disconnect and don’t forget the moment or if you just don’t want to reply to any messages or email right now.