Technology's harmful effects and tips to detox

Technology is a great resource to use, but it can also be a great barrier to health and wellbeing.

Kyra Nichols

We all know that technology can be a wonderful resource, but like all things, things can quickly get out of hand if it’s not used in moderation. Unfortunately, technology is something that can easily wear us down. Whether it’s staying up late watching a movie or scrolling endlessly on your phone, technology and screens can harm your recovery, health, and mental wellbeing if not used properly. Keep reading for a few simple tips on how to combat technology’s negative effects on our health.

Mental Health Effects

It’s no surprise that one of the most harmful types of technology for our mental health is social media. It has been proven that teens and adults who spend increased time on social media are more likely to have increased rates of general anxiety disorder, depression, and other mental health disorders than their counterparts who use social media in moderation or not at all. There are a plethora of reasons why social media can negatively impact a person’s mental health, but first and foremost, social media is designed to be addictive, and any type of addiction is detrimental to our wellbeing. Social media often also results in comparing oneself to others, scrolling for long periods of time which can lead to a decreased sense of productivity and worth, and consuming negative or upsetting content online. 

With so many factors pitted against you in a pastime that many of us partake in, it’s extremely important to prioritize caring for your mental health. This is always important, but especially if you are a social media user. An easy and effective way to boost mood and improve overall mental health? Regular exercise. A simple outdoor walk (even better if you do it without headphones in!), a bike ride, strength training, or any type of exercise you enjoy will give you a daily dose of endorphins, encourage new neural growth, reduce inflammation in the brain, and so many other benefits that occur within your brain, all from physical movement.

Physical Effects

For anyone who has used social media, it’s easy to understand the mental effects that technology can have on us. What might be a little more surprising are the ways that technology can impact our physical health.

Sleep is an essential component of muscle recovery, whether the recovery is needed from normal day-to-day activities, strength training, or cardio. It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If you are not getting this amount of sleep, it is likely that your mind and body are performing below your optimal capacity. How does this relate to technology? Even if you think you’re getting 7-9 hours, if you’re viewing a screen before bedtime, you might not be getting as much quality sleep as you think. Studies have shown that the blue light from screens can decrease the production of melatonin in your body, which is the hormone that regulates sleep. Avoiding screens at least an hour before bed can help ensure you drift off to sleep more easily and stay asleep, increasing the chances of you getting your full 7-9 hours of restful sleep.

Screens can also cause you to have a decrease in activity. After a long day, many of us want to go home and decompress, which often turns into sitting on the couch and watching TV. More than likely, choosing a walk around the block would actually help us to decompress and relax more effectively than watching an hour of TV, and sitting for long periods of time while using technology can lead to other poor physical practices, as well. Being sedentary for long periods of time can often result in poor posture and curving of your spine. To learn more about how to add movement to your day and improve your posture, check out one of our other blog posts here.

Overall, screens and social media can be a great way to stay connected to others, enjoy entertainment from our favorite TV shows and movies, and even learn a thing or two online. But when technology is used too much or not used for the right purposes, it can have negative effects on your body and your health. Taking some time away from screens and social media, even for a few hours a day, can help you add more movement into your routine, get better sleep, and stabilize your mental health.

To chat further about these topics and learn how regular exercise and proper nutrition can help both your physical and mental health, reach out to our Rise team here