It’s hard to imagine a day going by without needing – or wanting – to use technology in some way. Tech has become such an integral part of our lives that it can be impossible to think of a world where it’s not used. However, as much as you might enjoy your technology, and as much as it is sure to benefit you in some ways, there are also downsides.
The negatives of technology can range from distracting you from your work or other responsibilities to causing your mental health to decline, as well as a lot that would fall in between these two ends of the spectrum.
This is why it’s a good idea to step away and disconnect from technology when you are able to. Even a short break means you can ‘re-set’ yourself and focus on other things. You might even find that you are able to use technology less when you turn it all back on and rely on it less than you did before. This can be an excellent way to keep your mental health in a good position. With all this in mind, here is some more information on the benefits of disconnecting from technology.
Improved Mental Health
We’ve already briefly mentioned mental health, but now we’ll go into this benefit of disconnecting from technology in more detail. Our mental health is something we have to look after – we need to do all we can to take care of it and ensure that we are happy and healthy. Poor mental health can lead to a life that isn’t lived to the fullest for a variety of reasons, and this will definitely impact every aspect of your life, from your career to your relationships and more.
The problem with technology, when related to mental health, is that constantly being bombarded with information, whether it’s world news or the latest updates from our friends, can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. We constantly have to worry about so much going on around us, and we also have to try to keep up with everyone else. Or at least that is how it will feel to a lot of people.
By disconnecting from technology, you’ll no longer be subject to all this constant information. You won’t have to know about bad things that are happening and that you have no control over, and you won’t have to think about how your life compares to someone else’s (and, of course, it’s worth remember anyway that the persona people present online is very rarely the one hundred percent true one). Instead, you can just focus on the here and now and enjoy your own life in the way you want to without feeling as though you have to keep updating the world about what you’re doing (and getting judged for it).
Another excellent reason to unplug from technology is that you will sleep better. The screens we are always looking at on our phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs emit what is known as ‘blue light’. Blue light can have a negative impact on the body’s circadian rhythm – this is the rhythm the body uses to know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. The light confuses your brain so that it doesn’t realise it’s time to sleep, and therefore your body won’t produce enough melatonin. Melatonin is needed to help the body get into a relaxed state so you can fall asleep more easily. As you can see, disconnecting from technology would be very helpful to ensure you sleep better, so turning everything off at least an hour before you want to go to sleep is the best option.
However, it’s not just the blue light that your technology emits that can cause a disrupted night’s sleep. If you have your phone or tablet near you in bed, you’ll be disrupted through the night, thanks to the notifications you receive. The screen might light up, and there could be sounds that, even if they don’t wake you up, will still disrupt your sleep. Even if you have your phone on silent, the buzzing from the vibrations will often be enough to disturb your sleep.
If you want to be physically and mentally healthy, getting enough sleep is crucial. This is the one time your body and brain are able to make repairs – their energy isn’t being used for anything else – so you need to make the most of your sleeping time, and disconnecting from technology will help you do this.
Although technology can certainly be useful and help you get things done more quickly, ticking off things on your to-do list, like when you want to buy coffee beans you just can’t get in a standard supermarket and have them delivered, or when you want to work out the best route to take to get somewhere on time – among thousands of other useful things – tech can also be a big distraction, and it’s hard to differentiate between the two. If you need to use technology for work, for example, you might find yourself doing what you need to do and then taking a few minutes to check your social media since you’re online anyway. This becomes a habit that, over the course of a day, can add up to many hours.
It’s clear that the more this happens, the less productive you will be. This is even more true if, when you were online, you read or saw something that upset you – this will be on your mind, and you’ll find it hard to concentrate on the things you should be doing.
Although you might not be able to disconnect entirely from technology if you need it for your work, you can stop using it to procrastinate by installing website blockers. In this way, you won’t be able to go to social media sites (and any other site you might choose to block) while you’re meant to be working. This will help you stay on track and meet your deadlines, after which you can enjoy social media as much as you want to (although still bear in mind that it isn’t always a good thing, and therefore you should still give yourself limits).
Improved Physical Health
We’ve seen how technology can take up a lot of your time. This doesn’t just mean going online and using social media; it means every aspect of technology, including the many streaming channels we now have for our entertainment. When we spend a lot of time using technology, we’re not spending a lot of time working out, playing sports, or exercising. We’re staying inside and watching TV rather than going out for a walk in nature, enjoying the fresh air. Or we’re updating our Instagram reels instead of joining in with a local sports team and getting fit and healthy.
Plus, technology has made many aspects of life very easy. You no longer have to get up to change the channel, turn on the lights, switch on the oven, kettle, or microwave, and so on. Much of what you need to do can be done from the comfort of your armchair or bed. You can even have a robot vacuum your house for you if you prefer. As much as this will save you time, it also means we’re just not as physically active as we need to be.
The best thing to do is to disconnect from technology and get outside or go to an exercise class. You can be in the moment and enjoy your workout, bike ride, or gentle stroll, without thinking about technology or updating any social media. You’ll enjoy the experience much more and get a lot out of it.