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What is Digital Wellness?

Digital wellness is a very recent health trend, which was born from the impact of this fast-paced, social media madness which surrounds us.

It is no real surprise that a trend which divulges into our unhealthy obsession with technology seems to be continuously picking up more and more traction. Some may even suggest that this is a much-needed, long overdue change.

The effects of tech

What role digital tech has had on the world has been a huge concern ever since the internet began. Mostly, people are worried that the overuse of social media has flooded society with mental health problems and lower everyone’s quality of life.

For example, in 2017, the Royal Society for Public Health conducted a survey among 1,500 people aged 14-24 in the UK and found that social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat are contributing to:

A generation of young people with body image and body confidence issues.

What is most troubling at this moment in time is how there are not enough precautions in place to make sure people understand the potential impact digital technology can have on our general wellness and happiness.

As the topic of digital wellness continues to surface, more effort is being made to address the current issues that society faces online. For example, tech giants, Apple and Google have created functions that help customers have a better relationship with technology. For example, there is a Do Not Disturb feature to stop notifications appearing and users can now review their own useage data.

Additionally, Lifefaker, a parody site which seems to offer people the chance to buy packages of the “perfect online life” but once you reach checkout you are met with facts and statistics about the unhealthy relationship we share with social media. Founder, James Routledge, explains the purpose behind this:

The intention with this campaign wasn’t to “solve” mental health overnight or even radically shift social media usage in a day — our intention is that we all become more aware of our mental health in general, that we hear the message that we all have mental health just like we have physical health.

Tech life balance

Now no one is suggesting that you have to get rid of all technology in your life and move to some remote cabin in the woods. It’s not about eliminating tech because let’s be honest, tech can be super helpful to everyday life and it can also be equally fun and beneficial to our general well-being.

Instead, the key focus of the digital wellness agenda is to find the right balance between your online life and real life. This can be done by fully understanding what unique role tech plays in your life, you should assess your own digital use by recording:

  • Exactly what you use tech for
  • How much time each activity takes
  • What emotional response you have

Using the results of your own assessment you should be able to make some logical steps forward as to what needs to be done to better improve your relationship with technology. Especially by removing or minimalising the activities in which you feel take a toll on your general wellness. A few suggested techniques which may help are:

  • Setting ‘no gadget’ time slots during the day
  • Logging out of all social media accounts at 9pm
  • Turning off your work phone during the weekend
  • Setting a timer for when scrolling social media

Can the digital world add meaning to real life?

It’s very easy to group all of technology together and label it as detrimental to us. But that isn’t at all the case, in fact, technology was invented in the first place to improve our state of life. Through digital technology we have gained countless examples of how life has been made easier and even happier.

Digital platforms can be a huge asset to bringing people in the real world together, these tools of connection are incomparable to anything we’ve known before. The problem comes when all that time we invest in our online lives never actually adds any return back into our real lives.

Whilst it’s incredible to build online relationships and engage with other people all across these digital platforms, we also need to remember that we have physical lives waiting for us with real people in it that truly matter — and that’s exactly what digital wellness promotes.

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