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Why Young Adults Need Time Away From Electronics

Why Young Adults Need Time Away From Electronics

Today, teenagers constantly plug into technology. They’re always playing on smartphones, gaming, and sharing their lives on social media. On average, those between the ages of eight and eighteen spend approximately seven hours a day on screens. Unfortunately, this is a habit that could have a seriously dangerous impact on their health.

While banishing technology completely from a teenager’s life may be impossible and possibly even counterproductive, students, parents, and influential figures alike should be working together to impose guidelines on the amount of exposure young adults get. After all, studies are proving that too much time spent in front of a screen can damage the growth and development of teenagers. From harming sleep patterns to increasing body fat, reducing physical activity, and even promoting the development of depression, anxiety, and stress, electronic screen-time may be as detrimental as it is convenient.

The Impact of Electronics on Sleep and Concentration

According to research, young adults who spend too much time on electronic devices often have more trouble sleeping at night. Studies have found that cumulative screen time affects how long and how well teenagers sleep. The more time young adults spend on electronics, the less sleep they’re likely to get.

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Though scientists are still exploring why screen time impacts sleep, some experts suggest that the light from electronic devices interferes with the human circadian rhythm. What’s more, devices could be responsible for stimulating the nervous system, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.

Sleep deprivation is a dangerous thing in all stages of life; however, it can be particularly detrimental to adolescents whose brains are in the process of developing. Sleep deprivation causes teenagers to perform badly in cognitive tasks and experience less control over their emotions. Sleep supports the brain processes critical to memory, learning, and emotional regulation.

Choosing to Unplug

It’s understandable that young adults navigate more towards the benefits of technology. After all, many career options involve the use of technology. The ability to remain connected to peers can also provide a useful solution for making plans and keeping in touch. However, it’s also important to weigh the risks associated with too much screen time.

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Without the right amount of balance in a young adult’s life, it can be impossible to develop crucial time management skills essential for academic success, or devote enough time to outdoor activities and personal growth. Too much time spent online can lead to concentration and memory problems, reducing a teenager’s ability to make crucial decisions, set goals, and act appropriately around others.

Recent studies suggest that choosing to set aside technology in favor of exploring nature could help boost creative thinking and bypass some of the negative effects associated with excessive screen time. With that in mind, the aim should be to find balance between encouraging technological development and understanding in teenagers, ensuring they have the opportunity to explore other aspects of life.

The Benefits of Time Away From Electronics

The only way to lower the negative impact that excessive electronic exposure can have on teenagers is to promote the benefits of unplugging — even if it’s only for short periods of time each day. An inability to escape technology can lead to “tech stress”, leading to an increased chance of depression and emotional turmoil in young adults.

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Scheduling regular time to unplug from technology is important, as the brain needs recovery time in order to grow and develop. For instance, one study conducted by the University of Michigan found that patients who took a walk after learning something new were more likely to retain the information. In other words, time without technology can help the brain to reboot.

On top of this, scheduling time away from technology can also:

  • Reduce discomfort and pain throughout the body. The issue of “tech neck” is growing prominent, thanks to the strain that texters place on their spine and neck through staring down at a computer monitor or phone screen for too long. Through unplugging, individuals can enjoy better posture, less eye strain, and fewer aches in their muscles.
  • Increase awareness of your surroundings. When unplugging from technology, you’re removing a huge distraction from your world. As such, teenagers will be more likely to notice small details, places, and things they never noticed before.
  • Allow for better sleep quality. As mentioned above, the human circadian rhythm depends on darkness in order to prepare the body for sleep. Banishing light emitting devices can be a huge benefit to the body, allowing for a more complete and restful sleep cycle.
  • Improve mood and memory retention. Even taking the opportunity to unplug for a couple of hours every day is enough to allow the brain to reboot, lift your mood, and improve memory skills. Less technological stimulation gives teenagers the time to focus on activities that grow and develop the brain cells.

Be More Creative and Productive

The constantly connected world that we live in today has made it easier than ever to assume that we need our web browser, email inbox, and social media accounts in order to be productive. However, the truth is that the accumulation could be interrupting a young adult’s life, making it difficult to get things done.

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By powering down every once in awhile, young adults can find new ways to be creative, contributing to the world around them by developing their skills and minds. From getting out into nature, a concept that many cognitive psychologists believe is essential to improving mood, to taking the time to grow new brain cells,  moments taken away from the online world are crucial to the growth of any young adult.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via thumb9.shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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