As our love of technology grows, wellbeing experts are becoming increasingly vocal about the need to stay alert to the dangers posed by the shift to a digital culture. Much like our mobile devices, the human brain needs a chance to recharge each day, they suggest.
Therapists associate the demands of beeping phones and buzzing tablets with increased levels of anxiety and encourage stressed workers to ‘switch off from work’ on a regular basis.
Counsellor Eve Menezes Cunningham says: “Many of us spend much of our lives in fight/flight high alert mode instead of taking the time we need to come down from a busy day, unwinding and allow ourselves to relax, recharge and just be.
“Anxiety, stress and depression rates are so high in our 24/7 world because we so rarely take any down time.”
Tech-free holidays are now available for workers looking to take their ‘digital detox’ seriously and Arianna Huffington recently launched a new initiative called The Third Metric to revise how we measure our own success, which focuses on wellbeing and wisdom, rather than long working hours.
According to Menezes Cunningham, our relationship with digital devices goes far deeper than them simply being a distraction.
“The trouble is, even though there's a stressful element to endless demands and being 'on call' almost 24/7, it can be quite addictive. Studies show that for some people, each ping to announce a new email, text or even social media update can trigger the release of the feel good hormone dopamine. So we need to be firm with ourselves and set realistic digital curfews.”
“Reading on electronic devices and catching up with emails in bed impacts our ability to switch off and sleep so do your best to leave such gadgets out of the bedroom. In an ideal world, you'll be able to unplug at least an hour before you head to bed in order to acclimatise your system to the idea of winding down and being ready to sleep.”
Here are more tips from the experts on how to switch off..