We are fully entrenched in the Digital Age. Whether it’s by smart phone, computer, tablet, or TV; we are “plugged in” 24/7 in today’s society.
The numbers are astounding. Studies have shown that Americans spend over 20 hours online a week. Adults spend eight hours a week checking their email, and over 75% of users check their emails, texts, Facebook, and Instagram at least once a day. Today’s youth is even more invested in the online culture, spending over seven hours online a day. 93% of adolescents use the internet, and over 73% have a Facebook account. These numbers are only expected to climb.
But, is that a good thing? While easy access to friends, family, and current events is important, this online culture is quickly growing at the expense of physical culture.
Here are some of the benefits of going unplugged.
Today’s information intake is 24/7. But before smart phones and social media, information intake was limited to reading the morning paper or watching the nightly news. Being “plugged in” all the time wreaks havoc on the brain. The habit of constantly keeping up with current events and peers can cause increased distractibility and attention disorders. Some studies have found that technology deprivation can create stress, elevated levels of anxiety, and social discomfort.
Taking an hour each day, to completely remove yourself from all technology and modes of communication, can do wonders for your mental health. Not only will unplugging help you reduce stress levels, but it will give your brain a chance to process all the information it’s receiving. Without unplugging, you can start to suffer from information overload. And that can make it very difficult to learn new skills and keep the brain at its cognitive best.
Technology has undoubtedly changed the nature of interpersonal relationships. Communication via social media, text messages, and chat has practically replaced face-to-face conversations, even when people are physically near their peers. It is now commonplace to respond to a text on a date, take a call with friends, and check email at meals. Considering that the majority of communication is non-verbal, the lack of quality face-to-face conversations is disturbing.
Unplugging from technology will allow you to focus on your present company and actually experience and develop your relationship. The ability to effectively listen, focus, and communicate with others on an interpersonal level actually builds self-esteem and confidence. The people that you care about the most can be an amazing source of support both online, and more importantly offline.
Sedentary Life Style
Constantly being online promotes a sedentary lifestyle, especially when our devices are never more than an arm’s length away. This can lead to decreased physical movement, increased time indoors, and unhealthy food choices.
People are usually inside and sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or lounging on the floor when engaging in online activity. Save for the occasional fluttering of fingertips and twitching of eyes, physical inactivity can cause permanent damage to your circulatory, digestive, and skeletal systems. Sedentary individuals are also more likely to develop bad eating habits. While watching shows or movies, people often reach for unhealthy snack foods to satisfy their hunger.
Unplugging from online activity and social media will allow you to do more dynamic activities like exercising, being outdoors, or cooking a healthy meal.
Going unplugged will give you more time to exercise. Take a trip to your local park, go out and explore your neighborhood, or put in some actual face-time with your neighbor. Getting out and moving around will do wonders for your body. Going outside when you unplug is a great way to catch some sunlight. Your body produces Vitamin D in response to that sunlight. Vitamin D is essential in helping bodies maintain a healthy weight. It regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and helps maintain vital cognitive and immune system functions. Whether you are just starting Medifast, or in the maintenance phase, unplugging for at least an hour a day will help you make healthy good choices.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the expansive digital world within that lit screen, that many people don’t even realize the amount of time they spend online. Being online may make you feel like you are experiencing the world, but it’s important to experience the physical one right in front of you.
We recommend, “unplugging” for one hour a day, just to let yourself take a breather. Clear your mind, get some exercise, and enjoy the moment. Facebook will be waiting for you when you get back.