May is Mental Health Awareness month! Every year, Mental Health America spreads awareness that mental health is essential to everyone’s well being through local events, screenings, and health challenges through the month of May.
Here at #TeamOnsharp, we were interested in learning more about the impacts of technology on mental health, and what steps we can all take to have a healthier relationship with technology. Read on to see some of the potential risks of over-indulgence in technology, and what we can do to keep our mind and body healthy in the modern age.
RISK #1: Spending too much time on social media can lead to increased feelings of sadness and isolation.
A recent study showed that the more participants used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. Additional studies have found that the more participants engaged in social media, the more isolated they perceived themselves to be. Finally, the more comparisons participants made between their lives and others, the worse they felt in the end.
WHAT WE CAN DO: Limit our time on social networks, and allow it to simply be a way to connect with those that are further away. Keep it to a quick check up, and avoid the endless scroll.
RISK #2: Too much screen time can disrupt your sleep.
Researchers found that the more time participants engaged in screen time before bed, the more likely they were to experience poor sleep quality, decreased sleep efficiency, and longer sleep onset latency.
WHAT WE CAN DO: Power your smartphones down 2 hours before bed to help your body naturally wind down, and get a good night’s rest. According to Mental Health America, getting a good night’s rest is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities.
RISK #3: Technology makes it difficult to disconnect when the workday is done.
In a recent interview, Nancy Colier, author of “The Power Off” stated that “Without open spaces and downtime, the nervous system never shuts down — it’s in constant fight-or-flight mode. We’re wired and tired all the time.”
WHAT WE CAN DO: Establish healthy boundaries in your life. When you’re at the office, be fully present and avoid distractions so you can complete your tasks. That way, you can be fully present in your after-work activities, and feel good about disconnecting.
If you’re interested in more ways to improve your mental health this month, join the #4Mind4Body challenge and make small changes each day to improve your health and well-being!