According to an article by the BBC, how you use your smartphone will have a huge impact on your mental health and well being. Sorry folks, it doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone, a Samsung or a generic fone.
Right now, about 40% of the world’s population have a smartphone and use online social media. That means about three billion people are glued to their handheld devils. On average, we spend two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating.
Yikes! TWO HOURS A DAY??
Two hours a day adds up to a whole lot of time in my books. If you add all of that time up over the year, you have over 700 hours. That translates into 43 days every year (based on taking 8 hours to sleep but no time to eat, exercise or go to the mall) that we invest in our technology rather than building our well being.
This makes me ask myself whether or not my iPhone is adding anything to my life, or is it just a drain on my energy and attention? I am taking time this weekend to reflect on my use of technology and my directions for 2018. Tomorrow’s article, “Four Questions that will Set Your (Recovery) Direction for 2018” will talk more about that.
Take a few minutes to consider how much time you spend with your romance (or bromance) with your phone. Do you notice any patterns of how you use technology to avoid or as a way of coping with stress, anxiety or unhappiness?
How is your smartphone impacting your mental health and well being?
- Stress – yes your phone can be a distraction, but using it as a way to cope may cause you to surf rather than seek support from people who will listen.
- Mood – the more time you spend on social media, the worse you will feel. Ouch. Maybe they should call it “Sadbook” instead of Facebook?
- Anxiety – it is uncertain why social media and technology may impact our anxiety. It could be because we compare ourselves to others, or feel that we are not getting anywhere. We know that spending time outside, with people and with pets will reduce your anxiety. It is more likely that the more time we invest in our fones, the less time we have for people and other life-giving activities.
- Depression – can increase if we spend time on social media where we are bullied, intimidated, challenged or judged.
- Sleep – cell phone use late at night or having a fone in your room at all will impact how well you rest. I moved my fone from my bedside table 6 months ago and I don’t miss it.
- Addiction – smartphone fixation will make it more challenging to resist other forms of addiction. And for some of us, the fone itself may be our addiction.
- Self Esteem – will take a hit when we compare ourselves with super-fit people and photoshopped images.
- Well being and life satisfaction – if you are socially isolated, social media can be a positive thing. But for many others, it will negatively impact how grateful and how happy we feel.
- Relationships – the presence of a smartphone will impact how we talk to other people, how attracted we feel to our partners, and it can spike our sense of jealousy.
- Envy – social media use can drive us to feel less gratitude and more envy of others. It’s just too easy to feel grumpy about our lives when other people seem to go on the great vacations and get the new stuff.
- Loneliness – smart phone use can make us more isolated. And loneliness will have dramatic negative impacts on our mental health.
The BBC article concludes by saying, “As with food, gambling and many other temptations of the modern age, excessive use for some individuals is probably inadvisable. But at the same time, it would be wrong to say social media is a universally bad thing, because clearly it brings myriad benefits to our lives.”
It’s true, our smartphones and social media use can have a significant impact on our lives. But they can also add important things. It makes sense to be aware of how we use our technology, how much we are in front of screens, and how it is making us feel. And then balancing our time with time spent with people, time outside and ensuring we have enough sleep, exercise and a reasonably good diet.
Tomorrow, I will have an article on Four Questions that will Set Your (Recovery) Direction for 2018. This weekend, why not put the smartphone down for an hour and reflect on the important things in your life. The time that we spend thinking about our direction can add years to our lives… and life to our years!
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Keep it Real
Photo by Ron Bennetts