The world is more connected than ever before, for better or worse. Although the Internet and modern telecommunications technology enable us to be in touch with practically anyone else around the world instantaneously, this can be good and bad.
A recent study found that Americans spend as many as 10 hours a day consuming media through television and the Internet. While there are plenty of benefits that come with our modern reliance on technology, it also puts us in danger of missing some beneficial experiences.
Even if we’re watching our DVRs from a park bench or scrolling through social media feeds poolside, we lose something when we make technology the central focus of our lives. Too much screen time means we’re most likely sitting for too long, and probably indoors.
There’s something to be said about the benefits of fresh air and sunshine, not to mention good old-fashioned exercise. That’s why it’s important to remember to unplug ourselves from technology every day and get some face time with the real world.
The benefits of unplugging are numerous, especially if you spend that time outdoors. Studies have found that continual exposure to social media can increase feelings of depression and anxiety, not to mention the health problems that arise when we spend too much time sitting and consuming electronic media.
Spending all your time indoors staring at your screens also exposes you to a lot of recycled air and artificial lighting, neither of which benefits you in terms of health.
Getting outside and being active, even if it’s simply sitting in a nature preserve painting a landscape, can do you a lot of good. You don’t have to become a rugged outdoorsy type to get the benefits of the outdoors, either. There are plenty of simple ways you can unplug from technology and benefit from the outdoors. For example, you can take a walk around your local park or around your neighborhood.
You can take up landscape painting or nature photography to exercise your artistic side while getting some fresh air. Fishing and bird watching also are great ways to take up a hobby that doesn’t require being plugged into a wall outlet. Or, taking a boat out onto the water can be relaxing as well as invigorating.
Putting some restrictions on your technology use also can lead to significant benefits. You could consider trading in your smartphone for a simpler cellphone that doesn’t connect to email or the Internet. You might consider setting a limit on your screen time the same way you would limit your calorie intake on a diet. Reading a book instead of staring at your phone during your commute also can work wonders for your mood as a way to unplug.
As nice as it is that we’re all connected these days, it’s also important to remember to unplug. If you’re looking for ways to de-stress, the checklist accompanying this post can provide you with some basic tips.
Use the unplugging checklist, and you may notice some benefits right away in terms of your mood and health.