Most of us carry around in our pockets, a computer more powerful than the one Ronald Reagan used to rule the free world. The technology we all have access to today is really and truly incredible. But it can be as much of a curse as a blessing, if we let it take over our lives.

Digital wellbeing is a key issue we need to address for our overall health and quality of life. Technology has been one of the greatest enablers of the last 20 years. Whether that be for families living in different parts of the world being able to contact each other instantly, or businesses being able to grow faster by having access to larger customer bases across multiple markets – there is no doubt about how much it has benefitted us as a whole. 

However. This has also led to an ‘always on’, ‘always connected’ society. Our lives are dictated by notifications and our time is spent mindlessly scrolling news-feeds. Our devices are becoming ever more connected, yet we as human beings are growing further apart.

HOW CAN WE IMPROVE DIGITAL WELLBEING 

You can’t completely eliminate technology from your life, nor should you want to. But there are ways to help you to manage your usage better. Here are some simple tips that prove effective in improving digital wellbeing:

  1. LOG OUT OF SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
    By needing to sign in each time you open the app, this will act as a deterrent and reduce frequency of use.
  2. NO PHONE A MIN OF 30 MINS BEFORE BED
    The reduction in exposure to blue light will enhance sleep quality.
  3. ENGAGE IN FULL CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE
    This will lead to better social interaction and interpersonal skills, as well as helping you to maintain healthy relationships with family and friends.

HOW CAN WE IMPROVE DIGITAL WELLBEING 

A recent study by Business Insider stated that the average adult touches their device approx. 2617 times a day, which is quite a lot. If that touch lasts for a mere 5 seconds, this equates to over 2 hours per day, and over 14 hours per week. Over the course of a year, that’s 1 month spent on a mobile device. For the vast majority of people, this time consists of mindless scrolling. Imagine what a person could achieve with some of that time back? Imagine if some of that time was used to work towards a goal, or used to spend more time with family and friends. The positive impact on a person’s life would be sensational.

IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH

Not only is an overdependence on technology time consuming, it also leads to issues such as decreased social skills, increased levels of anxiety, and decreased sleep quality. We sometimes don’t realise it, but when we are scrolling news-feeds, we subconsciously compare our lives to others. This makes us question our current situation and life choices. And in turn, this can have seriously negative effects on our mental health.

On top of this, when we receive a notification on our devices, our brains release the hormone cortisol. This essentially puts our brains into high alert, which can feed into higher levels of anxiety.

As we become more connected, there is no doubt that an individual’s success and quality of life going forward is going to be largely dependent on their ability to be productive and optimise their technology usage. Maintaining focus in a world full of distractions is going to be a key skill for success.

As we begin a new year, why not make 2020 be the year that you take back control. Focus on being happy in real life, not just on Instagram.

Digital Wellbeing are helping people build a more mindful and healthy relationship with technology, by giving them the tools necessary to be able to use technology to enhance the pursuit of their goals. By delving into daily habits and lifestyle, they not only look for quick wins, but look at the sustainability element of the relationship and dependency on tech, helping to develop new habits and improve quality of life. For more information visit their website.