In today’s world, we are constantly being stimulated by technology – from the moment we wake to the moment we try to get to sleep.
Many clients, friends and family members have told me that they are being adversely affected by overstimulation – and it was affecting me, too. What many of us are experiencing in today’s modern world is completely unnatural and has never been practiced in history. As such, ‘unplugging’ has become a crucial habit to adopt in order to maintain or gain good health.
Whilst technology has the ability to improve our health, through access to apps (like exercise and recipe apps), healthy programs and meditations, and provides many business advantages, it is still important to unplug. Anxiety, mood swings, irritability, sadness, sleep troubles and high stress can, in part, be attributed to overstimulation due to social media, phone calls, text messages, television and news from the many technological devices we have surrounding us today. Of course, there are gut health imbalances and processed/inflammatory foods causing these symptoms as well, but it is important to take a holistic view of our health.
My Personal Experience
I recently had a moment where I got home, sat down and began chatting with my family, and I suddenly began sobbing, and sobbing, and I couldn’t stop!
I sobbed because I couldn’t handle the constant contact and stimulation, every moment of the day.
I had some in-depth health questions that I hadn’t responded to because I had been busy with study, consultations, work deadlines and more. I felt an overwhelming amount of emotions purge out of me as I sobbed, which clearly needed to be released.
I realised it was because I felt ‘expected’ to respond to questions that I continuously receive via Instagram, Facebook, text messages and emails. But remember, we have NEVER before had a device on us with ALL of these means of contact, where the world can have access to us at ALL times of the day. I realised I couldn’t handle the overstimulation for many reasons (see below). I also found that when I was on my phone or laptop leading up to bed time, I would feel wired and take a lot longer to fall asleep.
Now, I unplug on the weekend and roughly 2 hours before bedtime every evening, and I answer most questions during weekdays only. Allowing myself to do that is very therapeutic and reduces the strain and intensity of feeling required to answer questions, or constantly know what is going on in the world .
I also often go for a walk or swim in the morning and/or the afternoon, leaving my phone at home or putting it on flight mode, so I can be truly present and breathe.
5 Reasons To Unplug:
- Reduce signs of anxiety and depression
Social media multitasking has been linked with signs of anxiety and depression. When you pick up your phone next, notice if you tense or lift your shoulders, and notice whether you are breathing normally or holding your breath. I find many clients resonate with this, and I do to. Through all forms of media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, TV or radio, we are exposed to news, mostly negative, that puts us through certain emotions that we are not processing. It has been proven that when we regularly expose ourselves to news including traumatic events, we can experience symptoms of anxiety or psychopathology.
- Lower your exposure to radiofrequencies (RF’s) or electromagnetic fields (EMF’s)
If you didn’t already know, electromagnetic hypersensitivity is actually a thing. This means you are more sensitive to things like Wi-Fi and mobile phones. The symptoms are non-specific and range from insomnia, skin issues, mood issues, body aches and pains through to immune issues. Whilst a little exposure is safe, constant exposure can cause problems. Switching your phone off or onto flight mode at night can help lower this constant exposure. Nicole Bijlsma from Building Biology is a fantastic source of information on this topic. See one of her articles here.
- Be more active, eat better and get more sunshine
Studies have found that the more technology teens are exposed to, the more ill health and unhealthy habits they have, like bad eating habits and little physical activity. When you unplug from all technology during the day, you will find yourself wanting to get outside, see the world, and be active and more social. You will begin to immerse yourself in nature more often, get more vitamin D and connect with the Earth. This is all so critical for your health.
- To be more present with your loved ones
This is one of the most important reasons to switch off. Put your phone down, turn off your TV, close your laptop and look your loved ones in the eye and have a good conversation. Not only will you build or maintain a healthier relationship with those around you, you will also be given the chance to talk through anything you need to, solve problems, laugh, relax and love more.
- To lower the exposure to blue light
The blue light emitted by the screens of technological devices stops the production of melatonin, inhibiting your ability to calm down and prepare for sleep at night. Moreover, it may be causing permanent eye damage.
5 Habits You Should Consider:
- Do not expect an immediate response from who you are contacting, and do not feel the need to respond immediately. This will take the pressure off and help you to remain mentally and physically healthy. Be gentle with everyone around you at this time of change, and be gentle on yourself.
- Limit your use of technology to particular times. For example, I answer work/nutrition questions during business hours only as much as I can. Pick times that work for you.
- Turn off all devices when you’re enjoying a meal, particularly if you are with your loved ones.
- Switch your phone onto flight mode whilst you sleep, or even better 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Reduce blue light exposure by switching to ‘night mode’ on your phone and laptop as often as you can, though definitely at least 3 hours before bed. If you do not have these options on your device, then download F.lux. This adapts the brightness of your screen to complement the time of day.
I have included only a very small part of the research on this topic here, though hopefully this plants the seed for change.
Have you found yourself in a cycle of constant exposure to technology? Have you tried to do something about it? What has worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments below.