The digital world is a part of our world, and electronic devices are ever-present in most of our lives. It's important to be mindful about how we use technology. Here are some tips for a healthful relationship with digital technology.
- Establish ground rules: Limit the recreational use of your electronic gadgets to certain hours of the day. If the sun is out, consider putting your device away unless you have spent two hours outside.
- Set an alarm: Alarms can help snap you out of a zombie trance. Parental controls and locks can also temporarily “lock” you out of your computer unless you enter a password. (Just make sure you don’t forget your password.)
- Stay active: Prolonged use of computers, hand-held devices, and other electronics can significantly affect your posture and ultimately lead to chronic pain. Be kind to yourself and your body, take a walk, stretch, or complete a 7-minute workout.
- Read a book: Studies have shown that light emitted from laptops and phones at night can trick your brain into thinking it is still daylight outside, interfering with sleep. Winding down the day with reading, journaling or meditation can help improve your quality of sleep.
- Practice safe driving: Refrain from texting or making calls while you drive. If you must communicate try using a hands-free or Bluetooth headset. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 3,300 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2011. The safety of others as well as your own is at stake.
- Pay it forward: Rather than spending three hours surfing the Internet, spend that time helping your community food bank, starting a garden, hanging out with a friend or learning a new skill set.
—By Calvin Kwan, ND, resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.