The Importance of Unplugging
Published on September 20, 2018
If you are like me, you probably accept the fact that you spend way too much time using technology – especially on social media. As a college student, I know how important it is to manage my time wisely, and scrolling through Instagram can very easily cut into time that should be used to complete homework. The temptation to be glued to social media is strong, but when I think about how many hours a day I spend on my phone I do get a bit concerned. When I was in high school my mom would always tell me not to spend so much time on my phone, but it wasn’t until this summer that I realized how important it is to manage my time with technology. Unplugging is not easy, especially since having a phone and laptop has been a part of my life and so many people’s lives for so long now. However, there are so many benefits to stepping away from technology for a little, and those benefits point back to the importance of unplugging.
Did you know that spending too much time using technology affects mental health? The facts about overly using a device is mind-blowing to me. I honestly don’t want to know how many times a day I check my phone, because I know the numbers will disgust me. Often, I find myself pushing my home screen button for no reason, hoping that I will be greeted by some sort of notification. This behavior is common, according to Psychology Today, which states, “Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search.” When we do check our phones and see a notification from someone, this dopamine is being released in our brains, making us desire to check it again and again. The dopamine release shows how difficult it is to unplug, and it makes me happy to know that I’m not the only person who really enjoys the activity that happens on my phone. To keep myself from checking my phone a lot, I try to keep it in a separate room or in my backpack while I’m doing homework so I don’t get tempted to waste time on it.
Whenever I use my phone for an excessive amount of time I can feel myself becoming anxious. While researching for this post, I came across wise words from the Becoming Minimalist blog. The blog says, “In a world where outside noise is coming quicker and louder than ever, the need for solitude becomes more apparent… and easier to overlook. True solitude and meditation will always require the intentional action of shutting off the noise and the screens.” I find solitude by setting moments aside each day to spend time alone and talk to God, and this simple act brings me peace that helps me get through the rest of my day. A great way to practice solitude is to simply take a walk alone to give yourself time to process what is happening around you. Another great practice is to set aside time in your day to pray and read the Bible. This will not only help your spiritual life, but it will also bring you peace and solitude, which is seemingly difficult to come by in our world today.
Another downside of using social media continuously is that it may cause you to struggle with comparison. The United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health surveyed 1,479 people ages 14-24, and one respondent said, “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough, as people add filters and edit their pictures in order to make them look ‘perfect’.” I know this has personally been a struggle for me in a different way, which is that I see my peers moving into sought-after internships and jobs after college. While stepping away from social media has helped me in this situation, I have also had to come to the understanding that people mostly post the best parts of their lives on social media, so their lives are rarely what they appear to be online. A practice that has helped me is turning to Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” You may have heard this verse a ton of times like me, but it always helps to be reminded of this truth.
Overall, social media and technology aren’t bad, you just have to know how to manage it properly. It is important to point out the key areas that excessive use of technology could affect in order to effectively make a change. I hope this blog post helps you work towards becoming a healthier and more productive student. Personally, I realize that spending time on technology is not bad, but it can be if it is not done in moderation.