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Mobile mindfulness: The effects of smartphones on your mind and body

Technology is evolving at a rapid rate. This is especially true when we cast our minds back just two decades to the turn of the century. This new era of ever-developing technology has seen us enjoy little luxuries like never before. Using the Alexa in the Kitchen, our smartphones in the bathroom, smartwatches while out for a jog and our tablets to stream movies in the living room. The latest advancements have drastically changed our lifestyles. 

The smartphone has been the biggest gamechanger of them all. Our smartphones give us the flexibility and convenience we now require and slots seamlessly into tour busy and hectic schedules. They live in our pockets and are with us wherever we go. In history, we have never seen anything like it before. Our new flashy devices give us the liberty of connecting to the world no matter where we are, and this is one of the fundamental reasons why we can’t put them down.  

However, as convenient as they are, these new pieces of technology are improving but also arguably deteriorating our health. Smartphones and technology alike can, in many ways, cause side effects when used for long periods. They can affect both our psychological and physical state, all without us even realising. 

The physical health impact of smart technology

Although smartphones and technology are great, they do hinder our lives and risk limiting the level of physical activity we do daily. These then turn into habits and can be quite destructive to our health, making us lazy and procrastinate even more. Heres a look at few ways our physical state is deteriorating thanks to smart tech.

1. Excessive Weight Gain

Our smartphones give us access to our favourite sources of entertainment such as games, movies and social media apps all digitally. With just a few taps on our smartphones, we can be precisely where we need to be watching and doing precisely what we want. By doing this, we dramatically reduce and worsen our sedentary behaviour which causes a lack of physical activity. Although it doesn’t seem worrying, it is one of the significant factors that contribute to obesity and increases the risks for chronic illness.

2. Disruptive sleeping patterns

Using our phones before going to sleep can directly affect the type and quality of sleep we will receive. The blue light that is emitted from electronic devices such as our smartphones hinders the production of melatonin hormones which our bodies naturally create to help us sleep. Without the creation of these hormones, we are less likely to be able to sleep, which is why our sleeping patterns become disrupted. This also leads to feeling increasingly tired during the day and not being able to function correctly.

3. Increased physical injury

Being less active due to your smart devices means the muscles in your body will begin to weaken due to using them less. Prolonged use of smart tech can also affect your immune system, which makes you increasingly susceptible to physical injury. Looking at a screen can have adverse effects on eyesight and the brain because of the blue light that is emitted. 

The psychological impact of smart technology

1. Demotes social interaction

Using a smartphone can have significant effects on your mood and can play with your emotions. Sometimes this is also heavily dependent on the type of content that we are interacting with. If we are out, using our phones will prevent us from interacting with those around us and our surroundings. This will steal you away from moments and opportunities. They also can, at large, diminish your cognitive abilities in regards to connecting and socialising with other people. The lack of interaction will see people withdraw from society creating many imbalanced mental issues.

2. Decreasing Memory

Although smartphones can be great for collecting memorable moments, they can lead to memory loss. As we become increasingly reliant on technology, to remember things, we lose the capacity to store the information in our minds ourselves, which is what causes us to have memory loss over time. The memories we do remember are more likely to be linked to digital images than our internal memories as taking pictures and videos are popular. 

3. Weakening inductive reasoning

Using software such as Google to get answers to questions we don’t know means we become over-reliant on technology. We begin to dilute our own mental intelligence in problem-solving and working out solutions for ourselves. Using technology will reduce our abilities to logically solve the answer with our own mental strength.

How to break away from your tech

1. Outdoor activity

Getting out more and connecting with people and nature is an excellent way to break away from your smart tech. It will also help you become physically fit again using your body and muscle as they should, and it will have wonderous phycological effects on your mind. Taking up a sport is also great as it can be used as a distraction, helping you remain disciplined in your task.

2. Reading a book

Reading can be great to occupy and open the mind. However, instead of reading on your smartphone or tables it is better to read a physical book which offers fewer interruptions and are healthier. Doing this will also help you relax.

3. Hobbies

Spending time doing things you like can really uplift your physical and mental wellness. Whatever it is you enjoy doing, do it!

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