In the early hours of a Sunday morning, your smartphone humbly chimes in to wake you up to the updates from all over the globe. There are several notifications on your colorful screen, ranging from the breaking news to the new video your favorite YouTuber posted while you were swept away in the arms of slumber. Even with your eyes scarcely open, you swipe away these notifications in search for the most important of them all – your approval rating. Whether it was the group photo from last nights graduation party, or the check in from a famous locale, or a filtered picture post of the not-so-delicious food you consumed or even the i’m-so-bored-to-go-out picture on your couch – you are eagerly awaiting your ratings.
You quickly scramble through the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’, even making a mental note of the one’s who hadn’t noticed your ‘important’ update, updating your social media hit list. The virtual adoration on the world wide web is not only a source for seeking approval, but a larger source of hidden depths of disappointment. Your mind quickly transitions from the one’s who showed you a thumbs-up to remembering those who did not. The higher the ratings, the larger the motivation to target higher ratings through trivial intentions.
While social media has offered a variety of benefits ranging from the ability to communicate freely to being able to access valuable information through groups and communities, this outburst of information has also chained our minds to drive us away from experiencing life itself. We have read and heard about the harmful effects this addiction can cause, but seem to ignore all the signs and fail to take any action.
Here are 4 simple changes to limit your exposure to this seemingly harmless addiction:
1. THE TECH-FREE BEDROOM
A lot of research has been conducted on the harmful effects our cellphones can have on our brains. Avoid charging any gadgets or cellphones in the bedroom. Most of us tend to charge our phones overnight, leaving it plugged in on our nightstands. Not only does this overcharge your device, but makes you reach for it the first thing in the morning. When was the last time you woke up to simply stretch your arms acknowledging that wonderful nights sleep.
News today are filled with negative emotions and reading them first thing in the morning can be detrimental to your growth. Postpone updating your mind with this negativity until you finish your breakfast and are ready for work. Leaving the bedroom free of any gadgets will allow your mind to be at peace and promote productivity. How about getting that gorgeous old alarm clock today?
2. THE TV ON A TREADMILL
Haven’t you noticed your treadmill neighbor at the gym sprinting and laughing at the same time? While the best alternative to completely avoid this trap is in the company of nature, we know there are some limitations associated with outdoor fitness. If you just realized that you are the neighbor, it’s time for you to take your eyes off the screen and run fast! Not only have we stopped exploring the outdoors with indoor gyms, but also limited our attention span towards the task at hand with such technological add-on’s.
Your one hour at the gym must be an uninterrupted routine, where you do not run back and forth from the weight machines to skim through your notifications. If you are someone who exercises to the sound of music, purchase an inexpensive music player that only plays music, and offers no interruptions from your digital world of social interactions. Just leaving your phone at home could open a new world of real social interactions with the prospect of making new friends, saving yourself from that horrible ‘gym selfie’ nobody cares for.
3. CHEWING HANDS FREE
Let’s face it, we can’t stay away from our phones, even during those rare family gatherings. Not only has this prevented us from sharing and exchanging new ideas, but also made technology our easiest escape from uncomfortable situations. Each time you find yourself lacking any interest in a social gathering, you quickly reach for your phone in your pocket and aimlessly browse through the network of virtual reality with no intent in mind.
Avoid having your phones at the dining table, interact with your family and friends, talk about the high and low points of your day. When did we forget to truly express our feelings without having to rely on emoji updates on social media. Let’s get back to experiencing what it means to really care and share our lives with real people.
4. THE IDIOT WEARS TECHNOLOGY
We love the newest trends in technology and long to acquire them the moment it’s in stock at the nearest store. While some wearable technology is certainly beneficial to people with health concerns, is it a requirement for all? Is it really that difficult to track the number of hours you slept last night or to simply walk one hour a day without relying on a device to provide detailed information with colorful charts?
Some technologies are better off without technological enhancements, where we do not need our watches offering vibrating feedback on our wrists for the latest messages. You may love the cool new gadgets, but determine its utility in your life the next time you rush to the store.
Technology addiction may seem a harmless part of our lives, but understanding its long term impact on our lives is essential to our well being. Realize that your ‘screen-time’ is time away from life itself. Ignore the million updates and focus on updating yourself to a NEW YOU today!