Disconnecting For Awhile Is a Good Thing

Michele Warg
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These days, people are more technologically plugged-in than ever before. It seems there's hardly a moment when you're not plugged into a smartphone, tablet, computer or other device. While it has certainly made life more convenient in many ways, there are several compelling reasons to disconnect from technology regularly, as staying connected can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.

The main reason you should disconnect from technology regularly is stress release, particularly after work. Staying connected to multiple devices and checking emails, especially work-related emails, keeps your brain from relaxing, thereby preventing you from properly preparing for the next day. This is not a rare phenomenon; a Career Builder survey found that 30 percent of Americans check in with their employers, even while on vacation. While it's hardly easy, completely disconnecting from technology is imperative to managing your stress levels.

In addition to stress release, regularly disconnecting from technology makes you more productive. Contrary to what many believe, multitasking does not increase efficiency. Studies show that the more tasks you tackle at once, the worse your performance becomes. It's better to focus on one task at a time and see it through to completion. This applies at work and at home; trying to watch TV while cooking dinner and checking your Facebook timeline is just as distracting and stress-inducing as trying to compose a document while checking every email that appears on your screen. For better results and reduced stress, remove as many distractions as possible before tackling your to-do list.

Disconnecting from technology helps you sleep better. Research shows that nightly use of a computer, tablet or cell phone is associated with sleep disorders. The artificial light emitted by a computer screen actually reduces your body's serotonin levels after two hours of exposure. Serotonin not only supports your body's sleep mechanisms, but also regulates your mood. Interfering with your body's production of serotonin, therefore, can lead to a whole host of mental side effects, including depression and poor stress control, in addition to throwing off your sleep cycle.

Technology actually has the power to affect your personality. Studies show that heavy cell-phone users were less likely to be open to helping other people or engaging in charitable activities. This may be because technology artificially fills the need for people to connect with others, so much so that people are less likely to actually seek real-world connections. Overuse of social media can lead to feelings of loneliness, social anxiety and jadedness. Disconnecting from technology regularly helps keep you connected to others in the real world.

As tempting as it can be to stay linked in all day and night, it is advisable to regularly disconnect from technology and social media accounts. This is especially recommended after work to help reduce stress and bring balance to your day, as well as when in the company of friends and loved ones.


Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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