Humans have always been adaptive to the digital devices and technologies that they have encountered from the start, hence, no wonder their relationship has become complicated with passing years. With every passing year, our dependency on technology has increased especially in the pandemic when children are schooling via video calls, employees are being monitored online through employee monitoring software, people are preferring to meet each other virtually, and so much more. In a study, it has been found that in April 2020, the average time spent on mobile devices per day was shockingly around 4 hours and 18 minutes. This figure is 20% more than the hours recorded a year before that.

Although there is nothing wrong with spending more time on your mobile devices at this moment as it is helping friends, co-workers, families, and lovers connect to manage emotions that may even reduce stress. Children are educating and adults are working and earning their bread and butter through these devices, however, spending hours scrolling through social media mindlessly can also bring a high degree of risk leading to depression-like feelings left out, envy, and alone.

So, what should we do to ensure that our relationship with the devices do not become toxic as it is quite clear that our dependency on them will be consistent or even increase in the future? How do we stay healthy and constructive around devices?

Well, it is far too simplistic to say that we should cut down our tech usage, instead, build a better relationship! Here is how you can do so:

Build your awareness.

If this is the first time you are trying to track and change your screen-time and find it difficult to adapt to it, don’t worry, you are on the right path as it is not easy to get out of your comfort zone. Experiencing this discomfort is still better than not addressing the problem in the first place. Many mobile phones are now offering this feature free of cost telling you exactly how much time was spent on screen on which application making your monitoring easier. Explore what works best for you and pursue that with consistency, experiment with it and gain optimum results.

The biggest mistake we all do is underestimate the amount of time we spend scrolling and swiping every day. The numbers may look small on a daily basis but when you add them even for a week, they look astonishing. To hinder this challenge, start tracking your activities to obtain some perspective by acknowledging the time wasted.

Another thing that we suggest you do on a daily basis is to check in your mood after every few hours of staying online. Every scroll that we make on endless social media platforms tend to bring in different emotion with itself depending on how we take it. By consciously looking at these check-ins, you will be facing a reality check and become aware of how much we are affected and triggered by negative thoughts.

In this way, instead of imagining that how technology affects us, we will have a properly documented report in front of our eyes telling exactly how much we thought it triggers bad emotions and how much it actually does. You will always come across someone online or offline who will debate you on this and tell you otherwise but always remember that it is different for each person and you have your moods checked in and nothing is more real than that.

Have a clear picture of the advantages

Just like many other technologies, devices that we use can have both benefits and disadvantages, it can be used to induce happiness but also may bring stress and anxiety depending on the usage. When it comes to social media, there is no such right or wrong way to figure out how or which application can bring positivity without downsides, hence, we need to comprehend which or what works for each one of us.

When it comes to other activities like playing video games, enjoying a podcast, watching web series, etc, you should definitely add them to your daily schedule just like you add exercise and work as you enjoy doing them, balance is the key. By doing this, you will be fighting stress, will be able to concentrate on your productive activities at their respective time instead of daydreaming, and most importantly, have a balance. Do not forget to add offline activities like cooking to spend time with your loved ones.

Active vs. passive social media usage

There are a number of studies that suggests that people experience depression and many other negative health effects when they spend a huge chunk of their time scrolling through social media feeds inactively engaging. This is called passive social media usage and can be extremely bad for our well-being than active usage. Active usage is commenting on a friend’s picture instead of just scrolling.

Note that the intent here is not that you must comment under every post you come across, instead, we should differentiate between the time when we are bored and when we feel like connecting. The main purpose of social media is to connect, hence, use that time to do so, however, if you are just bored, find some activity to occupy that time.

Detoxify your mind

Most of us have heard or talked about digital detox wherein people take a small break from social media or digital devices altogether. The way we talk about our health and well-being matter a lot, however, when it comes to digital detox, it has a short-term effect and is not used to achieve long-term goals or values to continue a healthy lifestyle while being connected to the digital world. One should always strive to attain balance instead of quitting for the short term just like a healthy diet. The goal should always be a journey and not a destination.