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What Are the Effects of Too Much Screen Time?

An older woman curled up on the couch reading a book and drinking tea.

Did you know the average adult spends as much as 12 hours a day in front of TV and computer screens? Between your favorite television shows, shopping or paying bills online, and video chatting with your children and grandchildren, your devices have practically become an extension of yourself to make life easier and more entertaining.

It’s true that technology offers incredible value and can help us connect in ways like never before – especially during this time of social distancing. But taking regular breaks from all the screens in our lives offers many health benefits for a happy, fulfilling life.

As the saying goes, everything in moderation. While technology can make life easier in so many ways, too much screen time can actually negatively impact our physical, mental and emotional health:

  • Inactivity. Too much time on laptops and phones encourages a sedentary lifestyle. The longer you go without exercising, the harder it is to get back into an active routine.
  • Insomnia. Spending too much time looking at a digital screen can disrupt your brain’s sleep cycles, leaving you feeling restless and exhausted.
  • Vision Troubles. Staring at screens for too long each day can trigger a range of vision issues including dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches.
  • Inability to Express Empathy. Technology may actually impair parts of the brain responsible for compassion and empathy, making it harder for you to build and maintain relationships.

6 Benefits of Unplugging from Technology

Screen-free breaks can help you avoid the negative side effects mentioned above, and can also do wonders for your emotional and mental health:

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety. Unplugging from technology is like a reboot for your brain. When you’re not bombarded by dozens of emails, constantly looking at news alerts on your phone or mindlessly scrolling through channels or movie titles to find something to watch, your mind can slow down, relax and be in the present moment.
  2. Opportunity to Focus on Appreciation and Gratitude. Social media helps you stay up-to-date on what your grandchildren are doing. However, it also shows you the latest expensive vacation your cousin took or the new home your old classmate from high school purchased. Social media may help you connect to loved ones, but it also opens the door to unnecessary comparison, jealousy and envy. Powering down from time to time allows you to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude for all you’ve been given.
  3. Provides More Time for Simple Pleasures. Time away from technology paves the way for simple pleasures. Watching TV or browsing online is time you could spend participating in a stimulating activity like puzzle building or reading. You can cook, write a letter to a loved one or play with your pet without any distractions. Doing more of what you enjoy can significantly improve your wellbeing and help you enjoy life to its fullest.
  4. Reduces Feelings of Loneliness. Technology has made it faster to communicate with people and establish “virtual” relationships. But this lack of physical contact with others can leave you feeling lonely and unfulfilled. Closing your laptop or putting your phone away allows you to focus on building real, in-person relationships and communicating with others face-to-face.
  5. Connect with the Natural World. Did you know there’s a natural urge to go outside when you choose to disconnect from technology? Breathe in the fresh air, take in the scenery around you and exercise without distraction. Plus, being outside gives you much-needed vitamin D which can help you avoid long-term health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
  6. Allows You to Be Present. Life is happening in front of you every day; if you don’t pay attention you can miss a wonderful opportunity to connect. Powering down and disconnecting from the devices we’ve become so dependent on means less fragmented moments throughout the day. Your attention span will increase, your self-awareness and mindfulness will grow, and you’ll be able to appreciate and savor your time and the people you encounter throughout the day.

Enjoy a Fulfilling Lifestyle at Silver Maples of Chelsea

At Silver Maples of Chelsea, we offer an active, purposeful lifestyle which includes a healthy balance of technology and programs that support the seven dimensions of wellness. Our 17.5-acre, wooded campus offers walking paths that connect you to several community loops and can even take you to downtown Chelsea. We also provide diverse wellness programs to keep you active, including a free membership to the Chelsea Wellness Center where you can swim, walk, jog and participate in exercise classes. Our enrichment programming also includes art classes and lectures to inspire you and keep you engaged.*

If you’re ready to learn more about our community, contact us today to get additional information about our living options, current availability and waitlist options that suit your move-in timeline. Our knowledgeable staff is eager to assist and help you find a retirement community that fits your individual needs when you’re ready!

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