Smartphones and Mental Health: Less Screen Time, More Bliss
Smartphones can affect our mental health in both negative and positive ways, but lessening screen time can help create more bliss. Our technology can be great for connecting with remote friends and family, keeping up with the news, learning, or convenient shopping. However, smartphones can also become a source of anxiety: we can fear we’re missing out, put ourselves into a downward spiral of social media and news negativity, or constantly work rather than taking much-needed rest. Screen time before bed can also make sleeping difficult and lack of sleep negatively impacts mental health.
Instead of using a smartphone when you’re feeling down, try these two interventions.
1. Improve Mental Healthy by Replacing Smartphone Interactions with Real Ones
When our mental health is challenging, we often feel a desire to connect with other people in some way. Many of us don’t want to reach out, though, due to fear of judgment, paralyzing depression, or simply introversion. Social media often appears like a perfect solution.
However, if you’re already having a difficult day, your smartphone can instead create the feeling of a wider chasm between you and everyone else. Instead of absent-mindedly scrolling through websites, use your phone’s telephone function and call a friend. Meet up with that person if you can, or simply ask about your friend’s day. You don’t need to talk much about yourself and you’ll likely leave the call with a blissful smile on your face.
You get bonus points for learning something new about your friend.
2. Leave Your Smartphone at Home to Elevate Mental Health
Turn your phone off completely to cut off the screen time loop, which is likely affecting your mental health. Then, go for a walk without any devices. Pay extra attention to your breathing, your steps, and your surroundings. A walk without a smartphone even around the immediate neighborhood can set your day in a different direction; simply changing your surroundings and removing the distraction can give you a burst of energy or an inspiration to get back to work or to other productive tasks.
This walk may even put you in contact with another passerby. You can further your goal of real interaction by saying hi to or smiling at someone else. This type of basic interpersonal connection is more difficult with a smartphone in your hand, so you’re setting yourself up for success on multiple accounts in this way.
Try these two methods of interrupting the smartphone screen time cycle and see how it can improve your mental health.
Meredith, M. (2018, October 21). Smartphones and Mental Health: Less Screen Time, More Bliss, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2018/10/smartphones-and-mental-health-less-screen-time-more-bliss
Author: Morgan Meredith
In today's constantly connected world. This is such an important read. It's so helpful to look at our daily habits and realize where we're spending our time and energy. Putting the screens down and making healthy boundaries can be healthy, helpful, and empowering.
It's so hard to make those boundaries! I think for those of us who are pretty good at making healthy boundaries with other people, technology doesn't feel the same - we can so easily create excuses for why we "need" to check our phones all the time. Bottom line is for many smartphones can actually be an addiction. Crazy!
Obviously nice written. Really smartphone kills our valuable and important times.
Thank you for the compliment! It's true, we lose lots of valuable time with people around us when we're distracted with technology.