At some point haven’t we all suspected that technology might be messing with our well-being? While anxiety, sleeplessness and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) are very real ways our mental health takes a hit when we are constantly connected, it turns out that excessive screen time also produces very palpable physical conditions.
A recent article from Huffington Post’s Lidsay Holmes describes a number of health issues associated with technological dependencies. For instance:
- When we tilt our head 60 degrees to stare at our devices, we’re putting 60 pounds of pressure on our neck. That’s like having an eight year old child riding around on our melon.
- Gripping mobile devices while texting and swiping repeatedly throughout the day can cause repetitive motion problems (think tendonitis) as well as wrist or forearm pain.
- Phones are generally filthy and laden with bacteria. From bathrooms to tabletops, chairs to everywhere we go, our phones get set down, passed around and handled constantly. They pick up all sorts of funk along the way and then get put squarely next to our lips. Gross.
- Headaches and eye strain are common results from staring at screens for too long. After being fixated on our computers at work, we gaze lovingly at our devices outside the office. We have to give our eyes a break.
The good news is that these issues can be remedied without prescription. When we devote ourselves to e-boundaries (times, places and ways to be unplugged), we can take a healthy break from connectivity. Cleaning those devices with an antibacterial wipe at the end of each day and being conscious of where they go can limit the yuck we put on our faces. Instead of moving from screen to screen, we can go outside and look around, giving our sight a stretch and boosting our creativity. We already know that the side effects of these approaches include increased well-being, overall happiness and greater connection with other parts of our lives. Something to try this weekend….