Internet addiction is epidemic in today’s society, and it’s bad for your physical and mental health. The average American adult now spends more than 10 hours a day staring at a screen — whether mobile devices, gaming, working or watching TV — based on Nielsen audience report about internet addiction statistics.
All this time online can take a toll on your mind and body. Here are seven reasons why unplugging from the Internet at least once a week is good for your mental and physical health.
Benefits of Unplugging from the Internet
It Builds Self-Control
When you’re constantly going online for socializing, videos or gaming, it can become a compulsive behavior pattern. You can tell your technology is starting to control you when you start to feel anxious whenever you’re away from your smartphone, you feel a need to drop everything to answer a text alert, or you spend all your free time gaming, which are signs of technology addiction. Disrupting this compulsive behavior can help you develop self-control, says Entrepreneur.
It Lets Your Brain Relax
Constantly staring at a screen bombards your brain with visual and auditory stimulation. This keeps your nervous system from relaxing, which is unnatural and builds stress. Thirty-eight percent of millennials feel stressed from technology overload, a Cornerstone OnDemand study found. Spending less time on the computer will help you calm your mind.
It Improves Your Mental Health
The stress of constant online stimulation can strain your mind as well as your nerves. You can start to feel fatigued, anxious, irritable or even aggressive. If you’re online constantly because of work, you may start to resent your employer. Recognizing this, French workers have successfully lobbied for a right to have hours on evenings and weekends when staff is not allowed to send or respond to emails.
It Allows You to Be More Present
Constantly interrupting what you’re doing to answer texts or catch up on games keeps you in a state of distraction. This can hurt your ability to concentrate on important tasks, as well as your ability to relax, enjoy life and socialize with others. Unplugging periodically can help you learn to be more present to yourself and to others around you.
It Frees You to Pursue Your Life Goals
Being preoccupied with the Internet can distract you from important priorities such as long-term life and career goals. Disconnecting can give you time to reconnect with your top priorities. Or take on a new hobby. Get rid of habits that make you unhappy, and focus on achieving your goals.
It Promotes Family Bonding Time
Being online constantly robs you of precious moments you could spend bonding with your family. Scheduling periodic downtime on evenings and weekends give you an opportunity to spend quality time with your family. You can use this time to focus on each other and on offline activities you can enjoy together.
It Deters Obesity
Spending too much time online can hurt your physical health by promoting obesity. Harvard research has already established a correlation between too much TV viewing and obesity, and research suggests a similar correlation between obesity and computer, video game and internet use. Unplugging can give you a chance to get in some exercise and improve your health.
The negative physical and mental consequences of too much internet and gaming time are numerous, and the benefits of taking a break from online activity are compelling. Unplugging from the internet can be a struggle at first, but it will help you develop self-regulation and meet your goals.
If you feel you are at risk of having excessive internet use and starts to question yourself, “Am I addicted to the internet?”, then this is the right time to find ways on how to prevent internet addiction. Below are some tips on how to restrain yourself from spending too much time on the internet and save yourself from the addiction.
How to Avoid Internet Addiction
1. Acknowledge that you may be addicted to the internet.
You need to admit first to yourself that you are at risk of being addicted online. Once you acknowledge your internet dependency, it will be easy for you to get help. Start by finding support groups that will help you in dealing with problems associated with the use of the internet.
2. Set a specific time when using the internet.
When you use your computer, make sure that you set a definite time on how many hours you should spend in surfing the net. In this way, you can regulate your computer use and do the things that are more important.
3. Distract yourself from the computer.
Call your friends and spend more time with them. Going out with your friends for at least 3 hours a day will help you divert your attention from using the internet. Also, you can gain better mental health by socializing. Research shows that interacting with other people improves your mood and weakens the feelings of depression.
4. Find a hobby that doesn’t involve using the internet.
There are a lot of things you can do without the internet. You can take a yoga or cooking class, get involved with local events in your community, or go for a run with friends. By doing these activities, it will help you take a break from the internet.
5. Create a to-do list and stick to it.
Internet activities distract you from doing your obligations which results in procrastination. You should put your obligations first and do the things that need to be done. Only allow yourself to do fun-focused internet activities after you are done accomplishing your obligations.
The internet allows you to have endless social interaction and keeps you entertained in ways that reality doesn’t seem to be interesting. If you want to steer away from the hooks of internet addiction, incorporate the tips mentioned in your day-to-day life to help you avoid compulsive internet use.
If you’re concerned you may have an internet addiction or your child is showing signs of gaming addiction, consider scheduling an online therapy session with a qualified counselor who can help you manage your problem. You can schedule an online therapy appointment with ThriveTalk.