The average American spends more than 10 hours each day glued to their screens. It’s no wonder: A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that eight in 10 Americans have a Facebook profile, 32 percent have an Instagram account and 24 percent are on Twitter. By 2020, it’s predicted that worldwide social media users will reach 2.95 billion people.
Because of our connectivity, we spend an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms. Unsurprisingly, spending hours looking at our screens increases our risk for depression, anxiety and loneliness. Plus, we rob ourselves of time that could be used for personal and emotional development.
This season, kick the habit and try a digital detox.
- Catch up in person. Cultivating emotional intimacy is necessary for close relationships. It’s important to feel and see emotion face-to-face, not just through a digital filter. Although texting and messaging is useful, try finding a balance between in person and digital interactions.
- Do something creative. Paint, draw, write or knit—just engage in creative activities. Doing so improves our mood and decreases anxiety. When you do these activities, you establish a flow, in which sense of time and space recedes and our concentration, enjoyment, energy and focus kicks into high gear.
- Connect with nature. Go for a walk, hike or run. Sitting in front of a screen for hours is not only bad for our health, it’s also bad for our emotional well-being. Studies show that just looking at flowers, trees and bodies of water dramatically improves mood, lowers anxiety and cultivates feelings of connection.
- Be present. Living in the digital age means multi-tasking. Recent studies indicate a strong connection between multi-tasking, diminished concentration and higher levels of anxiety. Commit to practicing mindfulness meditation at least once a day while on a digital detox.
- Set daily goals. Ask yourself what you’d like to achieve each day. In the digital age, we’re so focused on getting as much done as possible, that we forget to concentrate on the quality of each individual task we are undertaking and the way we feel while completing them.