Most people would agree that increasing and improving technology can be a good thing. Decades ago, as people aged, or struggled with physical and mental challenges, they became increasingly isolated. If you can’t get out of your house, how do you stay connected to the world?
Then came home computers, which led to cell phones and all kinds of devices that keep us connected from the comfort of our living room. But is all that connectedness a good thing? Can you “overdo” it?
In recent months, there have been a number of studies linking increased screen time with adults and adolescents to increasing depression and suicidality. It is unclear whether this is because of the act of sitting with a computer/cell phone for hours at a time, or the sedentary lifestyle, which often leads to weight gain and decreased physical activity is the true cause. Additionally, factors such as sleep difficulties can make dealing with stress more challenging and diminish use of healthy coping skills. Lastly, like many behaviors, overuse can become “addictive”.
So what are some warning signs that you or a loved one may be spending too much time looking at screens?
- Preoccupation. Screen time (facebook, youtube, etc.) is the only thing you or your loved one care about or are motivated by. Throughout the day (School, work), you can’t wait to get on your phone or screen to see what is happening in the digital world.
- Control. It is hard to get away from the screen. You sit down to check email for a half hour, and find yourself still there hours later.
- Irritability. Having to postpone screen time, or stop using the screen makes you frustrated and angry.
- Interferes with other things. If your use of screen time is causing problems at work or home, that’s a problem.
What are some ways to manage your screen time? Consider using a timer. Set yourself a time limit, and when the timer goes off, shut down the device (or do something else).
Get out of the house. Most people spend less time online when they are outdoors. Do something that does not allow for screen usage, such as going for a walk.
Do something sociable. While many people still rely on their phones and screens in public, most are less likely to spend excessive hours when you are also interacting with others. If you attend a meeting such as a support group, religious activity, educational or recreational class, participating in an activity incompatible with screen usage helps to cut back on the time you spend online.
Remember, the internet is a wonderful thing. It provides information and social connections beyond your own world, but too much of a good thing still leaves you without needed balance in your life.
If your life feels unbalanced, and you are struggling with stress that leads to depression, anxiety and worsens pain, call the professionals at Ketamine Wellness Centers. We can help you find a healthier balance in your life. Still reading? Click or contact us and start living a healthier and happier life!