Living in a 24/7 Connected World and the Effects on Mental Health

April 7th, 2016

It’s no secret that technology has made leaps and bounds in the last decade. We’re now able to do so much from the palms of our hands; we can pay bills, make reservations, shop online, and so much more. There’s no doubt that technology has improved lives around the world, but what happens when our addiction to being connected gets in the way of our mental state?

Social media, texting, emails, and phone calls (for those who still use their phone for phone calls) allow us to be connected 100% of the time. In a recent article on CNN, half of all teens feel that they are addicted to their smartphones. In that same article, 72% of teens claim they feel the need to respond immediately. Additionally, almost 80% of them say they check their phone hourly. As we all know, there can be “too much of a good thing. “

As the generation that’s grown up with complete access to all kinds of technology, it’s not a surprise that there might be problems with excessive use of technology. It’s important to remember that it’s not only teenagers that are addicted to their cell phones. As a society, if you take a look around any restaurant or public place, you’re likely going to see more than a dozen people on their phones.

An article by Huffington Post discusses the topic of electronic connectedness and how it negatively affects mental health in teens. The article describes the phenomenon of “Facebook Blues,” where many heavy social media users report symptoms of anxiety and depression.

While we rely on our technology for a number of great things, it’s important to make sure to take a step back every once in a while. We’ve provided a few tips to help you disconnect from a super-connected world.

How to Disconnect from Technology to Improve Mental Health

  • Put the Do-Not-Disturb function to use: Many devices come with the ability to place your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode. When in use, this feature will make it so that you don’t receive notifications of emails, phone calls, or texts as they come in. This feature can help you to focus on doing something outside of being on your phone (such as reading a book or really being present with others) while minimizing distractions.
  • Take social media breaks: Have you ever found yourself wandering aimlessly to Facebook or Instagram for no reason at all? Start to give yourself allotted times to check your social networks. After a certain amount of time, the need to check your phone incessantly may begin to diminish.
  • Put the email away: For working professionals, email is a fast and easy way to communicate. However, when you are constantly connected to emails and don’t know how to not respond, you can lose your ability to disconnect. Make sure you only check emails on an as-needed basis during off-times to allow yourself time to decompress.

Get Mental Health Help at David Lawrence Center

If you feel that your mental health is deteriorating, whether due to an addiction to technology or other stressors, the mental health experts at David Lawrence Center in Naples are here to help. We provide a number of programs for both children and adults to help you find balance and move toward life-changing wellness. To learn more about our programs, contact us today.

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