It’s time to shut down all your phones and electronic gadgets. The thought of having to do this would most likely cause a mix of strong emotions in many people today. Today’s generation have become too dependent on all digital devices, from their smartphones to their laptops and gaming consoles. This brought the attention of mental health experts to the concept of digital health and wellness.
Wellness in the Digital World
The way you use digital gadgets and consume digital products significantly affect various aspects of your life. Experts have linked the use of digital technology with a number of mental health issues, particularly in young people. They all agree that people’s digital well-being should be kept in check if you are to maintain overall health and wellness.
Technology is meant to be used to improve lives. However, the way people use (or abuse) technology poses serious issues. Most of these issues have to do with how people interact with each other, react to what happens around them, and do their everyday tasks. These are causes of concern especially since the younger generation is seen to be the most affected. This puts the world in danger of having a citizenry of tech addicts.
Why Should I Care
Some might not realize what’s wrong with using digital products since they are indeed useful. They help you become more productive and provide you with some form of gratification. But, you should care about your digital wellness if you want to be truly healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.
An adolescent’s psycho-social health is the first to get hit by tech and internet addition. As s/he devote more attention to gadgets and the digital world, s/he loses touch of what’s going on externally.
It is ironic how disconnected we can become with what’s going on while connecting with the digital world.
One study in digital wellness cited compulsive behavior as one of the effects of tech addiction. This kind of behavior leads to high stress levels and anxiety that affects not only the person exhibiting it but the people around him as well. These effects extend from the home to the school or the workplace.
The prospect of you or anyone you love going through this should be enough for you to care about digital wellness. You need to take steps to fine tune your digital practices so you can use it the right way without it affecting your life negatively.
Tech Life Balance
Digital wellness is all about keeping a balance between your online life and your real life. You have to maintain both online and offline connections to satisfy all your psycho-social needs. It’s ironic that some people would think of what digital apps would help them achieve this. Both Google and iPhone have digital wellness apps to help their users manage their digital time.
Before you think of apps or any other tool that you can use, there are things that you can do on your own to care for your digital health. Consider the following:
- Assess your digital use – the first part of the article should have already led to your acknowledgement that you need to do something about your digital activities. Your next step should be to assess just how you are using your digital gadgets and what you activities you use them for. This includes the amount of time you devote to these activities and all the emotions that come with using them.
The results of your assessment should lead you to the specific steps that you need to take to ‘wean’ yourself from your addition or to simply make wiser use of your digital time.
- Schedule digital breaks – again, you do not have to be connected online all the time. The 24/7 connection does not really benefit you – you do have to sleep even for just a few hours a day.
Commit to ‘no gadget’ time slots during the day. Turn off your work phone during weekends. Log out of your social media accounts at 9pm. Set a ‘lights out’ time for your class group chat. These are just some of the simple things that you can do to switch from digital to real life.
Find other activities that you can do during these times so you do not ‘crave’ for your gadgets and be tempted to go online to check your social media accounts.
- Be choosy with digital products and content – you do not have to be in every single social media network all the time. You also do not have to click all the pop ups that appear while you are browsing the net. As you limit your digital time, commit to use it wisely as well.
As you scan through your feeds, choose to ‘consume’ only those that are important, relevant, and accurate. Do not waste time on useless posts that add no real value to your life.
In the same way, be choosy about the personal information that you disclose in your digital accounts and activities. Be careful about the information that you give other users access to. Unknowingly, you might be making yourself a target for unnecessary and useless content.
Living a Meaningful Life with Technology
There is no need to imagine a future without technology. It is not going to happen. You do not have to live without your digital gadgets or disable your social media accounts. You simply have to use technology the right way to improve your productivity and enhance your life. This is, after all, what technology is meant for.
Get connected with yourself. Be mindful of what’s going on in the physical world around you. Engage all your senses and be grateful for the fact that you are still breathing and living right now. Instead of being trapped in the digital world, find meaning in the things that you do every day. Use technology wisely and maintain your digital health to enjoy life and everything it has to offer both online and offline.
Originally published at www.goboldfish.com