In our technologically-driven and fast-paced society, we rarely take time to disconnect. That is, when we have downtime, we often use this time to go on our screens and disengage, scrolling through social media. However, this could very well be detrimental to your wellness and health. Understanding the downsides of social media is key, but it is not good enough alone- let’s consider all the ways in which disconnecting and unplugging is beneficial.
1. Improve Relationships
Let’s face it: being connected to your phone means it takes time away from, well, everything. This includes the important relationships in your life. Studies have shown that as we’ve become more technologically oriented, our interpersonal relationship qualities and those uniquely human skills have decreased. We are placing more value on our virtual connectedness than the people right in front of us. Disconnecting from social media will allow you to spend time with the people in your life and recognize areas which need improvements.
2. Improve Sleep
We’ve all heard about the harmful effects of the blue light on our screens- they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Blue light not only causes issues such as headaches, but it keeps you stimulated and awake. Have you considered how often you stimulate your brain during the hours before bed? This has become normalized and thus it’s no shock that there is a direct negative correlation between social media and sleep quality. Taking time to disconnect, specifically before bed, will help improve your sleep and in turn you will just be in better shape to tackle the day.
3. Decrease Anxiety
Can you imagine a time where social media wasn’t around? Our brains are literally programmed to react to stimulus and reward, and the phone acts as the stimulus. That is, it provides a dopamine surge which in turn makes you feel great! However, this surge quickly crashes and you then simply yearn for the surge again, which produces anxiety. Hence, the toxic cycle of being connected.
4. Increase Productivity
In the age of social media, it is no surprise that we have trouble allocating our time. There are temptations all over our screens, which makes it incredibly difficult to stay focused and maintain a work schedule. In fact, studies show that increased social media usage directly correlates with decreased productivity.
5. Be Present
It’s very clear that our phones distract us- how could they not? The screens in front of us encourage us to disconnect from life in front of us and engage in the detached reality of social media. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone only to watch them entirely become immersed in their phone? The worst. When we disconnect, we become more aware of others, our surroundings, and our thoughts. Moreover, becoming more present will inevitably lead to reducing anxiety because you’ll be more able to sort through feelings.
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