It’s a new year and that means all kinds of new resolutions about how to be happier, healthier, and more productive in 2016. But not all new years resolutions are about losing weight or doing better at work. In fact, some are about taking more time to enjoy the simple things in life.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in doing, then consider a digital detox in 2016. That means creating a coherent and controllable wall between technology and you, giving you more power to influence your life. Here are some great reasons to carry out a digital detox in 2016…
1. Technology can Hinder vs. Help
Technology is generally considered a benefit to our lives. Smartphones help us keep in touch with friends, family, and coworkers, while software like Facebook and Twitter helps keep us up to date on the newest ideas, events and opinions.
But being connected all of the time can have a negative impact. According to health experts, like WebMD.com, technology addiction is real and can result in people feeling like they have no control over their lives. The result: stress levels rise and physical and mental health are threatened.
2. Technology Can Hurt Communications
When most of us think about technology, we think about the devices and programs that make it easier for us to keep in touch with those people we love. For example, Facebook lets us keep tabs on people both near and far.
But consider that technology can actually hurt communication by discouraging us from actually calling or visiting our friends, family, or coworkers. A digital detox can help us initiate more face-to-face contact, helping revive flagging relationships.
3. Technology Increases Stress
Have you ever been at a family gathering or on a sunny vacation and felt compelled to check your text messages, email, or missed calls? We’ve all been there and it can ruin some much-needed down time.
Studies sourced in the Huffington Post have shown that heavy technology use can be linked to heightened fatigue, stress, even depression. That can make us more irritable, weakening the relationship at home and work that really matter. So, be sure to shut off your devices when away from work. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
4. Technology Can Cause Sleep Disorders
There’s no denying that it can be hard to put down our favorite devices and go to bed. But using those devices (i.e., smartphones, laptops, tablets, and gaming systems) can have a huge impact on our sleep.
In fact, a study from University of Gothenburg, in Sweden found that an increased reliance on smartphones and computers can increase sleeping problems. Those with the most serious issues used their devices right before bed or in the middle of the night. For a good night’s sleep, tuck away the high-tech at least an hour before hitting the hay.
5. You’ll Read More Books
Reading articles online is great, and it’s incredible how many different insights and opinions we can access with a few key strokes. But reading short articles online isn’t the same as reading books.
A digital detox can help you get back to reading books from cover to cover. According to an article on Lifehack.org the benefits are clear! Reading books stimulates our minds, reduces stress, improves our knowledge and vocabulary, boosts our analytical thinking skills, and enhances both focus and concentration.
6. It Sends an Important Message
Being addicted to technology is infectious. If you don’t believe that, take a look at how your office functions: is everyone constantly using their phones or just a few people? If it’s the former, chances are there’s pressure from the top to keep everyone connected all of the time.
For management, telling your employees to disconnect when they leave sends several important messages. It tells them that home life is as important as work life and it tells them that you care about work/life balance. That attitude can create happier, healthier employees and will benefit the entire work environment.
7. It Creates Time for Physical Health
It’s hard to get in better physical shape when you’re playing video games or texting your friends. Sure, there are new devices that help track and even encourage physical activity, but most high-tech items discourage us from getting off our butts.
Doing a digital detox will help you create separation between you and your devices and give you the time and energy to make physical exercise a top priority. That will give you the power to get back in shape, helping you reduce stress and feel better both physically and mentally.
8. Technology Messes with Our Brains
Technology can make us more effective at communicating, but it comes with a cost: it messes with our brains. Specifically, research from psychologists at Gresham College, London (UK) shows that relying on our high-tech devices to constantly multitask increases the production of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
That’s a problem. Both of these hormones can cause overstimulation of our brains, making it hard to concentration on one thing or relax (and go to sleep). In essence, then, a heavy reliance on high-tech devices makes us significantly less productive than using them a moderate amount. How ironic!