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Mindful Tech Use Makes You Happier, Healthier & Productive

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“Technology should improve your life… not become your life.” ~Billy Cox.

How Mindful Use of Technology Makes You Happier, Healthier & More Productive

It’s safe to say that our lives are somewhat always connected to and run by technology, since we live in an era where there’s an app for practically everything.  While technology can be helpful or entertaining, the amount of time we spend immersed in digital devices can sometimes become a problem. We’re probably all guilty of DMing a person who’s in the same household as us, (at the same time), just because we’re too lazy to travel to the next room to deliver the message in person. Also, many of us have become too reliant on technology for diversion and entertainment.  However, is letting the online world consume every aspect of our personal lives really that beneficial to our health and overall well-being?  

Being able to set your phone aside and just be present and  live in the moment can not only feel freeing, studies also show that being more technologically mindful can help you live a happier, healthier and even a more productive life.[1]

For Better Health

These days, electronics are a part of everyone’s life. Whether you’re working on your laptop, late into the night, sitting around, mindlessly scrolling through your smartphone or binge watching your favorite shows, too much screen time can be harmful.  There is a growing amount of research which shows the negative impacts of too much technology. [2] 

Constantly interacting with our digital devices can lead to sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and even chronic back & neck problems, as well as obesity.  In addition to physical strain to your eyes & body, spending long hours staring at screens can definitely take a toll on your physical health. [3]

When we lay on the couch for hours, in front of the TV, catching up on our favorite shows, or spending time online, playing games, surfing the internet or interacting with others using digital devices, chances are, we're not being physically active. We all know that physical activity is good for our health, however, digital devices could be cutting into your exercise time. Not to mention the fact that we are probably snacking mindlessly while in front of the screen. Maintaining healthy habits can be difficult when you spend a lot of time interacting with digital devices, however, spending more time being physically active and less time staring at screens can definitely help you become more healthy! [4]

For Happiness

Social networking platforms have a reinforcing nature. They are purposefully designed to keep us coming back for more. The truth is, many of us are spending way too much time on  apps and sites that have an adverse affect on our happiness. We previously tackled the issue of screen time and happiness in an article dedicated to the subject on our blog. Over time, more and more information has come to light, emphasizing just how detrimental these services can be to our mental health.  A recent, bombshell investigation by the Wall Street Journal, exposed the dark side of social media, by underlining the negative aspects of spending too much time scrolling, liking, updating, following, and sharing.  In depth research has shown a link between heavy social media usage and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook was well aware of the possible mental health issues caused by its two social media apps, Facebook and Instagram, but turned a blind eye to the problem and played down the significance in public. [5][6] If you’re a heavy social media user, try a digital detox. Studies have shown that it can do wonders for your mental health and lead to a significant improvement in well-being.[7] Try and limit your social media usage moving forward. According to a large-scale study, published by the National Library of Medicine, participants who used social media occasionally were  three times less likely to be depressed than heavy social media users. Another important study from the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, found that individuals who limited their social media use to just 30 minutes per day have significantly lower depressive and anxiety symptoms compared to those who spend more time on social media platforms. [8][9]

For Productivity 

Just like with happiness, we also discussed the impact of too much screen time on productivity, in detail, in a previous article on our blog. The technological revolution has brought us access to the internet like never before, allowing us the ability to connect with anyone around the globe, with instant access to information. Sometimes it feels like time is infinite and we can multitask into oblivion. However, science says that’s not the case. Research indicates that prolonged screen time can lead to, not only decreased productivity, but also fatigue. Also, since the digital world is full of disruptions, there is an expectation that we are always available via Slack, email or chat, with the added pressure that our messages will be replied to immediately. This really isn’t the best scenario for productivity. When your entire day is spent being focused on replying to messages and digitally interacting with colleagues, chances are that  you’re really not getting a lot of work done.  Ultra-productive work requires intense focus. A focus that's impossible to achieve when we’re being inundated with messages on Slack, emails, and other digital distractions. The sheer amount of distractions is exploding, and it’s dividing our attention further and further from whatever tasks we are trying to focus on. [10][11]

Logging off for a said period of time each day, in order to focus on accomplishing the most important tasks can be beneficial for both you and your manager. 

The Bottom Line

Although technology can enhance learning and build community, it can also interfere with everything from your physical and mental health to creativity and happiness and everything in between. In the end, it’s up to us to use the digital solutions for our own benefit. Although the modern, technology driven world often seems to make people feel distracted and stressed, there are steps you can take to move yourself away from the chaos. If you find it difficult to cut the technology cord, a minimalist phone, like Mudita Pure, can be a really good option. Make it a point to take some extra time to do things that you would’ve otherwise done using some form of technology. Perhaps send a friend a physical birthday card using regular mail rather than just sending a generic text message. Better yet, do things that make you forget to use technology.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out similar ones featured on our blog and learn more about how living more of your life offline with less distractions can help enhance your health and overall well-being. 

To learn more about Mudita, take a look at our website and our other posts. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share and recommend it!

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