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 —
recent Nielsen polling shows.
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.
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. 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.
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 are 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.
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. If you’re concerned you may have an internet/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.