To many of us, it seems like we are always connected, reachable, and constantly bombarded with information we don’t necessarily need. Our smartphones and social media have become a lifeline by which we can work and be social. While technology undoubtedly offers plenty of advantages, there is immense value in disconnecting from it from time to time. In this blog, we explore the benefits of taking a break from technology, whether through brief or long-term breaks, and offer tips that can help you make the most of your time away from the tech.
A Digital Dilemma
We live in an age where technology permeates nearly every single aspect of our lives. While this digital revolution has brought us countless conveniences, it’s also given rise to some pressing concerns. The relentless use of technology, particularly smartphones, has led to issues like technology addiction, decreased face-to-face interactions, decreased self-esteem, and a constant sense of urgency.
What Does The Data Show?
Digital Addiction: According to a study by Common Sense Media, 72% of teenagers in the United States felt the need to immediately respond to texts, social networking messages, and any other notifications that popped up. This is indicative of a growing digital addiction, which isn’t limited to teenagers; adults are equally susceptible.
Social Isolation: The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology published a study that revealed a link between the use of social media and feelings of isolation. Participants who reduced their use of Facebook and Instagram reported reduced feelings of loneliness and depression almost immediately.
Multitasking Pitfalls: The American Psychological Association found that constantly switching between tasks and technology can reduce productivity by up to 40%. It also increases stress levels.
Notable Benefits of a Break
While technology undoubtedly improves our lives in many ways, there are quite a few benefits associated with occasionally disconnecting from it. Taking a break from technology can improve mental health, enhance relationships, increase productivity, and so much more. Here’s a closer look at these benefits:
Mental Health: Constant connectivity to screens and notifications can lead to heightened stress and anxiety levels, which either cause mental health issues or worsen existing ones.
Enhanced Relationships: Technology often acts as a barrier in our face-to-face relationships. Many of us prefer the ease of chatting via text or email, rather than putting in the effort to connect more intimately. When we disconnect from technology, we become more present in the moment, enabling deeper and more meaningful connections with others.
Increased Productivity: Taking a break from technology increases productivity. Constant distractions from emails and social media hinder focus and efficiency. According to a study by the University of California – Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on track after an interruption. This can cause a ripple effect when it comes to work productivity.
Reconnecting with Nature: Technology-free breaks provide an opportunity to reconnect with nature, which many of us are lacking these days. Spending time outdoors without the constant distraction of screens reduces stress and improves mood. This simple solution is far easier to make a priority when the distraction of social media is not present.
Less Information Overload: Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as knowing too much or having access to too much information. Especially when it comes to news and social media, it can become information overload quickly. This can cause mental health to dive into a variety of reasons. Exposure to sad or terrifying news and comparison to what others are doing are just a few reasons as to why it is not healthy to have so much knowledge at our fingertips.
Better Sleep: Scrolling on social media or simply using your technology at night for any reason is known to have a negative impact on sleep. Sleep is essential for our health, both mental and physical. Disrupting our body’s natural ability to produce melatonin and wind down is harmful and tech plays a large role in this.
Taking a break from technology, whether through technology-free days or technology-free vacations, is more than just a temporary escape. It offers tangible benefits for our mental health and relationships. In a world where digital addiction and constant connectivity are prevalent, it’s crucial to be mindful of our screen time and the impact it has on our lives. While technology has revolutionized our world, we must remember that a balanced and healthy life necessitates moments of disconnection, allowing us to reconnect with what truly matters.
We Can Help!
MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home. If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Keywords: Technology, technology-free days, break from technology, social media
- Kang S, Kurtzberg TR. Reach for your cell phone at your own risk: The cognitive costs of media choice for breaks. J Behav Addict. 2019 Sep 1;8(3):395-403. doi: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.21. Epub 2019 Aug 16. PMID: 31418586; PMCID: PMC7044622.
- Przybylski, A.K., Nguyen, Tv.T., Law, W. et al. Does Taking a Short Break from Social Media Have a Positive Effect on Well-being? Evidence from Three Preregistered Field Experiments. J. technol. behav. sci. 6, 507–514 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-020-00189-w