07 Oct Digital Detox for a Better Life, on World Mental Health Day
#WorldMentalHealthDay is back for 2019 on October 10th. So, it’s time once again to consider all the ways our smartphone addiction may be impacting our mental health.
The subject causes heated debate. Some academics in the field argue that heavy smartphone use may just be as result of suffering from anxiety and depression. But a new study suggests that there may be more than just a link between smartphone dependency and depression: one may actually cause the other.
This new study published just this August in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests that smartphone dependence is a good predictor of loneliness and depression. In a study of 346 18- to 20-year-olds, the researchers found that relying on smartphones preceded symptoms of loneliness and depression, rather than the other way around.
Studies show links between heavy smartphone use and poor mental health
Heavy use of social media has been linked with poor body image, low self-esteem and even eating disorders. In fact, almost half of 18-34 year olds admitted that their social media feeds made them feel unattractive. Nearly two thirds of social media users say that using sites like Facebook and Twitter makes them feel inadequate. Around 62% of Facebook and Twitter users say they feel their own lives and achievements are inadequate when compared to what they saw on the feeds of others. What’s more, 60% say that being on these sites has made them jealous of other users.
Mobile phones and tablets have also been linked to poor sleep quality which is seriously detrimental to our overall health, both mental and physical. And, the rise in the use of smartphones and the digital world has even spawned its own entirely new mental health disorders including nomophobia, the fear of losing or not having your phone on you, at any given time.
So here are our top tips if you want to try a digital detox for a better life:
Digital Detox for a better life on Mental Health Day
#1 Delete, delete, delete
For the day, delete all the social media apps from your smartphone. Even the biggest technophiles agree that it’s social media that’s causing the most worrying mental health issues. Go just one day without access to these apps at your fingertips and see how much better you feel.
#2 Put it away
Put your phone away when you’re 1-2-1 with anyone this Mental Health Awareness Day. Improve your life, and theirs, by giving them your full and undivided attention. You never know what your friend may be wanting to tell you about, but is put off by your sideways glances at your phone. Put it away and invest in your most important relationships for one day.
#3 Reclaim sleep
Restful, rejuvenating. sleep is a real casualty of our screen obsession. Waking up tired every morning and having to go to work takes a toll on how we feel. Make World Mental Health Day an exception by banning your smartphone from your bedroom the night before. We guarantee you’ll be springing from your bed in the morning!
#4 Tell two
Tell two friends about the links between excessive smartphone use and poor mental health. Point them in the direction of our website, maybe to do our smartphone addiction quiz to assess how bad their problem is. Then support them if they want to try and log off more.
For more tips and tricks to boost happiness off screens, our book Off: Your Digital Detox for a Better Life is out in the UK, the US and in five languages. Pick up a copy here.