Let’s face it, technology is addictive. Recent statistics worldwide have shown that the time we spend online each day continues to rise, with the internet and social media becoming more accessible through mobile devices.

Almost one quarter of respondents in a recent survey said they felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

Here are four smart ways to beat digital fatigue before it beats you.

Out for the night?

Put your phone away or, better still, leave it behind. There’s a growing number of establishments that offer incentives – like meal or drink discounts – to keep phones out of sight.

Take a digital holiday

Hotel operators are using lack of Wi-Fi or phone reception as a selling point in some parts of the world. No phones, tablets, televisions… not even cameras. If you can’t afford an expensive hotel for your digital detox, go camping instead. Many camp sites are out of range, forcing you to sit back and enjoy the soothing sounds of nature and tweets of a different kind.

Switch to airplane mode

Many of us use our smartphones as a tool, for note-taking, photos, and music but we’re constantly interrupted by tweets, texts and emails. Solution? Turn your phone on to airplane mode – which turns off all wireless connections – and problem solved.

Set up gadget-free zones in your home

These may be the bedroom or dining table, or both. In those areas, make it a strict rule that there are no smartphones, tablets or laptops allowed. 

If cutting yourself off from the digital world fills you with horror, you can take a mini-break at your desk instead by going to: donothingfor2minutes.com.

Why we ‘like’ Facebook

Facebook has more than one and a half billion users worldwide. It may seem like a harmless activity, but studies in recent years suggest that Facebook use may ‘feed anxiety and increase a person’s feeling of inadequacy’ and that using Facebook ‘may even make us miserable’.

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” says US social psychiatrist Ethan Kross. What is interesting though is that researchers have found that people who are more anxious and socially insecure are more likely to use the site.

From these studies it appears that many of us who are addicted to Facebook use the site as a way of gaining attention and boosting our self-esteem. All that positive feedback about ourselves in the form of ‘likes’ showed stronger activity in the ‘reward’ centre of the brain, which keeps us coming back for more. 

Read another health and wellbeing article from Healthworks about the connection between listening and mental health.

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