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How Smartphones Affect Your Brain And Body Without You Knowing

How Smartphones Affect Your Brain And Body Without You Knowing

There is no doubt that our technology has evolved dramatically compared to how it was in the 19th century. Given all the advancements we have seen in recent history, we seem to be enjoying the luxury of having smartphones the most.

Smartphones have changed how we live. We now enjoy the liberty of connecting to the world as we carry our smartphones in our pockets wherever we go.

But, as our technology improves the way we live, our health may be deteriorating. Here are some disturbing facts about how your smartphone affects your brain and body health without your knowledge.

Your Psychological Health

1. Smartphone Use Demotes Our Social Interactions

The use of smartphones effectively kills your mood and pace, especially if you’re in a group setting. It steals away your attention from the people around you as well as your surroundings.

It diminishes your cognitive ability in connecting and socializing with other people. This often results in further withdrawing from society and increasing the likelihood of being a “shut-in.”

2. Smartphone Use Decreases Your Memory

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Smartphones are a very good vehicle for capturing the best and most memorable moments in our lives, but sometimes they are also the culprit when it comes to our memory loss.

This is due to the fact that we’re solely reliant on technology to remember things for us — we stop bothering to remember things by ourselves. Therefore, these “special” moments become linked to digital photos rather than internal memories.

3. Smartphone Use Weakens Your Inductive Reasoning

Today, it is incredibly convenient to just Google the things we don’t know and get the answer in just a click. But this over-reliance on Google and on the internet to solve our problems and questions backfires on us.

Dr. Gordon Pennycook, a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Waterloo, expresses that our over-reliance on the internet has diluted our mental intelligence and abilities to logically solve and determine correct answers on our own.

This is because we are truly dependent on what the Internet is giving us. Rather than reading about things and making conclusions analytically, we assume that the answers we garner from the internet are simply correct.

Your Physical Health

Mental and psychological health are not the only things languishing because of our usage of smartphones — our physical health is deteriorating too.

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The convenience the smartphone provides eliminates some of the physical activities we do every day and converts them into one of our destructive “lazy” or “procrastinating” moments.

4. Smartphone Reliance Can Lead To Excessive Weight Gain

The smartphone lets us access our favorite movies, games, and social media apps digitally. In just a few clicks, we are able to do whatever we want. This just worsens our sedentary behavior and lack of physical activity. These factors contribute to obesity and risks for chronic illnesses.

5. Smartphone Use Can Cause Disruptive Sleeping Patterns

The blue light emitted from electronic devices disrupts our production of melatonin hormones. These hormones are the ones responsible for promoting sleep.

6. Smartphone Use Can Lead To Increased Physical Injury

If you are physically less active, the muscles in your body begin to weaken, along with your endurance and immune system. This, in turn, makes you prone to physical injury.

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We’ve all heard about the accidents caused by driving and texting, but did you know that you are also prone to accidents while walking and texting? Smartphones can lead to physical injury by distracting you from your physical surroundings.

Productive Ways To Take A Break From Your Smartphone

1. Enjoy Some Outdoor Activity

Get out of the house more and re-establish your connection with nature. Go out for a walk or a run. Invite your friends over and play your favorite sport. Or try something new, like mountain biking or camping.

Do all the outdoor activities that you love. This will also encourage your social interactions with your friends and colleagues.

2. Read A Book

Instead of reading your favorite novel on your smartphone, head to the library or bookstore and get a physical copy. Nothing beats the relaxing feeling of reading a physical book beside a window with a hot beverage.

3. Get A Pen And Write

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Do you ever miss those moments of writing a letter to your special someone using a pen and paper? Or expressing all your thoughts and sentiments in a diary?

It’s time to bring them back. The old-fashioned way of writing is still the best way to convey your feelings.

4. Spend Some Time On Your Hobbies

Do you love to cook, bake, or paint? Whatever you love doing, it’s time to get back to your hobbies and spend some time on yourself.

5. Bond With Your Pets

There’s a reason why dogs are considered “man’s best friend.” Spending time with your pets is a great way to relieve stress and feel happier.

Featured photo credit: Luke Wroblewski via google.com

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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