A recent Forbes article gave shocking statistics on screen time that summarize today’s digital world. The average American adult consumes five times more information than 50 years ago, and some of us spend as much as 12 hours/day in front of a television, computer, phone or tablet! Even more shocking? These numbers include screen time at home, not just at work.
Why Screen Time Habits Matter
At any given time, we can log-on to the world wide web and access whatever information we want. We can follow along and connect with people we know on social media networks, go shopping at virtually any online store, or use comprehensive search engines to find the answer to a nagging question. We can also get news updates about what’s going on in the world and scroll through engaging articles on whatever topics we find interesting.
Beyond the web, we have access to hundreds (if not thousands) of television shows, movies and videos on our digital devices. Video games can keep us occupied for hours. A great deal of time is also spent on our cellphones, texting our loved ones and using apps to keep us entertained.
It’s EASY to get lost in screen time. How many times have you scrolled through Facebook, only to find that 20 minutes went by? How often have you lost track of time while watching television before bed? Most of us do it. It’s a sign of the times.
However, too much screen time can affect your health and weight. During this time, you could be getting active, grocery shopping, meal prepping or unwinding from stress with a hands-on activity. You could be engaging with family or experiencing the healing benefits of being outside.
That’s why mindfulness is a critical tool to practice if you’re serious about your weight and health. Could screen time be affecting you negatively?
Mindfulness Check-in: You Might be Spending Too Much Time on a Screen if…
- You feel chronic, persistent pain in your neck and/or back
- Your’re having vision issues, strained eyes, dry eyes or headaches
- You’re having trouble falling and/or staying asleep
- You feel physically cramped, fatigued or restless
- You’re experiencing weight gain along with other symptoms listed above
- You regularly feel like time is slipping away
- You’ve noticed a negative change in your activity and/or food habits
What You Can Do
If you think you may be spending too much time on a screen beyond work, and you want to employ mindfulness to improve your health, consider these tips:
- Set a numerical limit on your screen time or an evening/night time curfew
- Use a planner or “To-Do” list to organize and plan your day
- When on a digital device, ask yourself, “Why am I really doing this?”
- Decipher whether your screen time is proactive or passive
- Identify a productive alternative task or hands-on hobby
- Put your device away and spent at least 30 of those minutes outsi
Balance is key. Technology isn’t a bad thing because it helps us navigate the world with greater ease. But it’s also important to unplug every now and then to focus on you and your health.