The surprising benefits of unplugging from your tech
How many minutes do you spend looking at a screen each day? According to 2014 research carried out by Kleiner Perkins Internet analyst, Mary Meeker, it could be as many as 431 – and that was before the Pokémon Go craze of 2016!
The figure equates to more than seven hours – and if that amount doesn’t shock or surprise you, ask yourself: what were you doing with those seven hours every day before technology seeped into every element of your life?
Whether we’re at work, stopped at a traffic light or performing the most basic of human functions in the bathroom, our screens accompany us. Many could argue that Meeker’s figures are rather conservative. Think of your own life: how many hours a day are you ‘plugged in’, be it working on your laptop, checking emails on your phone, using an app to play Netflix through your TV or scrolling through social media? How often do you get into bed with your phone? How often do you check it in the middle of the night?
While some believe that being hooked on technology is an actual behavioural addiction, others take a less punitive approach. Either way, there’s no denying that we’re finding it harder and harder to unhand our WiFi-enabled devices.
Never mind free Wi-Fi; here are the benefits of going Wi-Fi free
These days, going ‘off the grid’ means taking yourself out of the city to a remote location without cell phone reception. It’s become a rare treat, and something your colleagues will boast about when they look particularly refreshed on a Monday morning. But what, according to research, are the actual benefits of unplugging from technology?
- It helps to combat feelings of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – a phenomenon now recognised as an emerging psychological disorder.
- It can help boost productivity. When was the last time you closed your email, social media and all other online distractions and focused solely on your work?
- Scaling back on tech can help you avoid unhealthy feelings of inferiority, insecurity, jealousy and loneliness that are often triggered by social media.
- Unplugging can help you properly recharge. It makes sense: if you spend all weekend checking your work emails, how much relaxation can you really have achieved?
- It could improve your sleep. Studies have found that the light from laptop and cell phone screens interferes with the human circadian rhythm, which relies on darkness to prepare the body for sleep. At the very least, you should be aiming to unplug from tech at least an hour before bed.
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