Why Stepping Away from Screens is Beneficial for Your Health
While stay at home orders and quarantine are still in effect in most places around the world, people everywhere have been struggling to find things to occupy all of the free time that they have suddenly found themselves with. One easy way to pass time is by using electronics – phones, laptops, gaming systems, and more.
The Effects of too Much Screen Time
Scientists are only beginning to understand the real effects of too much screen time on our brains and bodies, and Psychology Today has found that the negative impacts can include reduced attention span and memory difficulties; changes in ability to think, read, and write; decreases in happiness; and increased anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations and attempts.
Although technology has its benefits, its usage isn’t exempt from the golden rule of mindfulness, “everything in moderation.” Too much screen time also causes eye strain; an increased risk of obesity; and even insomnia, due to suppression of melatonin production.
A Rise in Doomscrolling
Another drawback to too much screen usage is a phenomenon known as doomsurfing, or doomscrolling. Merriam-Webster defines this as the “feeling when you can’t stop scrolling down Twitter, or reading news that you know will make you sad, anxious, or angry.”
Though it has been proven that too much screen time is bad for your health, large amounts of screen time can be even more detrimental when that time is devoted to absorbing bad news for hours on end; this can potentially deepen depressive episodes, cause social withdrawal, and reinforce negative behaviors and thought patterns.
By cutting down on your screen time and establishing more firm, personal online boundaries, you can not only improve your mental health, but your physical health, too. Some of the easiest ways to start cutting down your screen time are by closely monitoring your screen time, capping the amount of time you spend on your devices each day, and by making conscious efforts to absorb positive news and content, instead of only absorbing negative content.
Stay Informed, and Be Mindful
Absorption of positive content will not make you less informed – in fact, stepping away from a constant stream of negativity will give you more time to healthily process difficult news, thus allowing you to avoid reaching states of panic. Positive content also includes reaching out to friends and family online; and reinforcing strong social connections can further help to combat the negative effects of too much screen time.
If you feel up for a challenge, taking a social media or tech break can also help you to hard-reset bad tech habits. Instead, pick up that book that you’ve been meaning to read, or find a hike or other outdoor activity to occupy your time and boost your overall health.
We may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems in one day, but we can lighten the weight on our shoulders and improve our own worldly outlooks by putting down our screens, and by choosing to reconnect to the things that empower us and bring us the strength we need to push forward.
Healthpointe Wants to Help
It’s okay to ask for help – in fact, we encourage it. Here at Healthpointe, we offer various forms of psychological therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, cognitive rehabilitation therapy, and more.
Through each of these types of therapy, Healthpointe’s clinical psychologists are able to address and treat psychological disorders, as well as the psycho-social components of any injuries.
To learn more about Healthpointe and to see if we’re right for you, contact us at (888) 824-5580 or visit www.healthpointe.net.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help now. Go to the emergency room, or contact a mental health professional as soon as possible. If you are unable to travel, or need more immediate assistance, call a suicide hotline or 9-11.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a list of numbers that include, but are not limited to:
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (888-333-2377)
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255)
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) (240-485-1001)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) (800-826-3632)
International OCD Foundation (617-973-5801)
To learn more about these resources, as well as other HelpLine Resources, and other associations and organizations that provide advocacy and legal help, financial assistance, and community support services to those struggling with mental illnesses, you can go here.