The Effects of Technology on Physical and Mental Health: How to Find Balance
From the first moment we wake up, to the last thing at night, technology has become an inextricable part of our lives. We can’t function without it.
Tech is essential in our home life, our work life and pretty much every aspect of our day. It seems (because it is) that everyday there is a new development, a new gadget, software or idea that we need to integrate into our lives to become more efficient, more capable or just make life more convenient.
This however isn’t always the blessing that it purports to be, and can actually have some pretty drastic effects on who we are as people. We at Body20 understand that health is holistic, and we like to look at all things that affect us and our members, with a view to getting the best out of our lives, and we thought we’d take a look at tech and its impact on us.
The most pervasive piece of tech in our lives is our phones. They’re most often the thing that wakes us, and the first thing we pick up and play with in the morning. We have to check our socials, the news, swipe the many notifications away, check the weather and reply to whatever messages might have come through in the night. Our phones have become our link to the outside world, and with as many upsides as this has, it also has its downsides too.
With our phones always within reach, the internet has become an escape, a coping mechanism and a way to fill the empty moments. This is leading to legitimate cognitive disorders and other mental health issues. Studies have shown the top 5 negative impacts on us are:
- Psychological issues (50%)
- Sleep problems (48%)
- Social issues (45%)
- Difficulty forming relationships in the real-world (42%)
- Difficulty with focus (41%)
Our brains weren’t designed to be bombarded with information all the time. This overload desensitizes us, and rewires our brains in new ways, and scientists are still finding more and more impacts as tech becomes more ubiquitous and demanding of our attention.
It’s getting to the point where young teens and even children are suffering from extreme back problems because their heads are forever bent towards a screen, causing horrific, continued stress on their necks and backs.
A gambling addiction is often due to the impact of the dopamine effect, dopamine being the reward hormone. Many game designers and even social media platforms take full advantage of this, hitting our dopamine receptors again and again, leading to addiction problems with phones.
The blue light from your phone screen restrains the production of melatonin. Melatonin is essential in your sleep pattern, or circadium rhythm.
Our bodies depend on sleep, and deep sleep, in order to grow and repair. REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is where our bodies take the time to heal or relax from the activities from the day. Disrupting this cycle can have very real, and very negative consequences.
With that, the habit of checking your phone as the last thing you do at night is one that needs to be broken. Set your phone’s sleep mode to activate at a time you’d like to start winding down. Give yourself at least 30 minutes before you put your head down to sleep.
No matter your industry, it’s becoming more and more likely to find people working after hours on their laptops.
No. Stop it. You need to switch off and take time for yourself. Countries like Portugal have made it law that outside of work hours, your managers aren't allowed to email or call you, except for emergencies.
Stress levels are at an all time high, and mental health problems are far too common a reality, and working from home (be it in or out of work hours), is having a drastic effect on our mental wellbeing.
Take The Break
Studies have shown that a 2 hour break out in nature, be it in your garden or going a hike, has incredible benefits on your mental health.
Why not supplement a break like this by leaving your phone at home or in the car? When you’re eating dinner with your family or friends, put all phones in another room.
You can even gamify this when out at a restaurant. Put all phones in the middle of the table, and the first person to touch their phone pays the bill.
We need to remember that the people in front of us take priority. If you’re sitting with your friends but you’re chatting to others on your phone, are you not saying you’d rather be socialising with whoever you’re chatting to?
It takes a conscious effort to disengage from our phones, but the rewards are real, and so impactful and positive on our lives.
Close This Page
Put your phone down, close your laptop, right now. Take a break and just walk around. Breathe in, and breathe out. Look at the world around you, and then look again. Have a face-to-face conversation, laugh and connect. Maybe even pop round to your Body20 and put in a 20 minute session.
Now, there’s a healthy dopamine fix for you!
So close this page, but come back soon as we have many more healthy living tips to give you!
Body20 is an all-encompassing, holistic approach to physical, and mental well-being.
The mind & body are an ecosystem, and we understand the value of taking care of it all. Body20 members get access to Nutrition Doctors and Wellness Coaches to assist in improving the quality of their lives. To find out more, book your free demo at your nearest Body20 Studio.