According to the Council for Research Excellence Americans spend an average of 8.5 hours per day in front of a screen. For some, this leads to eye strain, headaches and sore back muscles. The real drawback, however, is everything else in life we are missing out on.
Here are 5 reasons to cut down your screen time as much as possible:
Spend quality time with family and friends
Sitting and staring at a screen together is not the best way to connect with our loved ones. An occasional movie or show is fine, but too many Americans get home from work, and sit right down in front of the T.V., or surf the Internet. Add perpetual texting and online games, and where has the face-to-face time gone?
To get the quality time back, gradually cut down the screen time in your household. During dinner time, try putting aside all cell phones and iPads, and turning off all televisions in the house. Perhaps make one hour (or more) every evening ‘screen-free’ time.
Take time to to talk to your family and friends, in person and without distractions, and you will see your relationships flourish.
Lead a healthy, active life
The sedentary habits of Americans are contributing greatly to the rise of obesity and obesity-related chronic illnesses, in both children and adults. Instead of watching that hour-long special, why not take some time to enjoy the outdoors?
Spending time in nature is vital to a human being’s optimum health. Our ancestors lived in nature, but sadly, fewer and fewer of us today even see a forest or a river on a regular basis. If you live near a park or a woody area, take advantage of your good luck and head over there!
Even if you live in the city, sunshine and fresh air will still clear your mind and do you a lot of good. Taking a long walk or a bike ride are great ways to get your daily exercise, reduce stress and clear your mind.
Find more time in your day
Do you sometimes feel like there’s just not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything you need and want to do? It’s amazing how much free time you will find if you simply cut your Internet and T.V. time in half.
Your to-do list will disappear in a breeze if you’re not stuck to a screen. It will also allow for more time to connect with the people you love, and maybe even do some fun activities that you’ve felt you haven’t had time for – roller skating, taking a yoga class, trying a new recipe, or reading a good book, for example.
You may even find that you have a few moments to sit quietly, sip a cup of tea or a smoothie, collect your thoughts and actually relax!
Reduce cravings for junk food and junk products
Our television, computer and cell phone screens are completely bombarded by ad after ad, virtually nonstop. Many of these ads are for processed foods and useless items, and they are expertly crafted to produce an emotional response in the form of a craving.
Is it any wonder that Americans are addicted to junk food, and spend money on things they don’t need, that wind up in the closet a week after purchase?
Getting away from the screen will give you a break from the screaming media, making it significantly easier to make healthy food choices for you and your family, as well as keeping your mind free from the desire to buy useless fad junk.
Break the cycle of Internet and T.V. addiction
For some people, staring at the screen can become a full-blown addiction. Some experts have likened Internet addiction to alcoholism, causing the addict to withdraw from family and friends, perform poorly at work, and do nothing but sit in front of a screen, even when it is no longer enjoyable. Online gaming is the most common Internet addiction.
In fact, the first inpatient treatment program for Internet addiction in the United States is set to open shortly at Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania. Medical director Roger Laroche and his colleagues expect to see withdrawal symptoms in their patients similar to those experienced by addicts of hard drugs.
Dr. Laroche says, “as far as what separates addiction from just a bad habit, we literally are talking about someone who has jeopardized his life and every aspect of it.”
If you find yourself spending way too much time online, and other things in your life are starting to go awry, unplug the computer now, before the addiction progresses, and becomes very difficult to address.
There are many other reasons to cut down – way down – on the time we spend in front of screens. Technology is a wonderful tool, but when it becomes a replacement for physically experiencing our lives, it can be very harmful.
Start by cutting down your recreational T.V., Internet and cell phone time by one hour per day. Even that one hour can make an amazing difference. Let’s take our lives back!
-The Alternative Daily