No matter where you look these days, it seems like a majority of the population is glued to their digital devices. Oftentimes, you can even spot couples who are clearly out for a date night ignoring one another and focusing on their smartphone screens instead, essentially shutting out the other person.
What happens in the brain when you are locked in to a digital device rather than engaging with those around you?
It Limits Your Ability to Connect
Being in the moment is an important part of connecting with others. Whether it is your partner, best friend, or coworker, putting your focus on your device rather than on the individual in front of you sends a message:
- You are not that important
- The digital world is more interesting
- Rudeness and anti-social behavior
Answering the occasional important phone call is a forgivable offence because emergencies and unavoidable situations do come up; however, it is a good idea to tuck the phone away when you have committed your time to someone else. Time is a non-renewable resource and your loved ones deserve your attention. This can enhance your connection and promote Secure Attachment.
It Disrupts Restorative Sleep Cycles
According to the National Sleep Foundation, use of digital devices leading up to bedtime disrupts the production of melatonin, which controls your circadian rhythms. Melatonin regulates sleep and allow you to achieve quality restorative deep sleep, necessary to all systems in the body – especially for proper brain function.
Turning on the night feature only addresses one aspect of sleep disruption. The use of a digital device also wakes you up mentally and stimulates alertness. It doesn’t really matter what you’re watching or even if you are just surfing the web, ditch the device before bedtime and wake up feeling more refreshed.
If you have a partner, use this time to connect through affectionate contact. Avoiding devices could improve your love life and relationship satisfaction.
It Leads to a More Sedentary Lifestyle
Entertainment at our fingertips is not necessarily a good thing. More people today are choosing to feed their brains digital information rather than being outdoors or exercising. Video games can keep children locked in front of the television for hours rather than riding bikes or shooting hoops.
The impact is not limited to kids, however. Adults, too, are getting more of their entertainment digitally than in the real world, and it is having a negative impact on waistlines and overall health.
So What Can You Do about It?
Limit screen time for both adults and kids. Plan activities that engage your family, partner, and kids in play and spend time connecting. Bring awareness to how much time you spend in nature and adjust your priorities accordingly or as Diane says, go on a “screen fast” to reconnect with what is truly important.
Learn More about Neuroscience and Connection
Join one of our live trainings coming up over the next month.
DARe 1: Healing Early Attachment Wounds July 25-27, 2017 in Boulder, CO
DARe 2: Creating Healthy Adult Relationships July 29-31, 2017 in Boulder, CO
DARe 4: From Wound to Wellness and Victim/Perpetrator Dynamics in Boulder, CO
Can’t Travel to Boulder?
You can still join our monthly online program called the Therapy Mastermind Circle.