Some of us spend so much time glued to gadgets, that we forget we have a life offline! So, here are some signs that you may have a tech addiction - and what to do about it – according to psychiatrist Dr. Gary Small.
First, the red flags:
- You have trouble socializing. Dr. Small says when you’re addicted to technology, you lose fundamental social skills - like reading subtle facial expressions during conversations.
- You also feel burned out. Research shows that people who spend more than 2 hours online nonstop are more likely to report feeling “fatigued,” “irritable,” and “distracted.” Dr. Small calls this “techno-brain burnout” and it triggers the release of stress hormones that short-circuit the part of your brain that controls thought and mood.
- Some other signs that you’re addicted to technology? You’re a chronic multi-tasker. You’re texting during a meeting, or surfing the net while you’re watching TV. The problem is, according to Stanford University researchers, media multi-taskers are less efficient. They also have trouble weeding out what’s important from what isn’t. They pay attention to every incoming text, email, or push notification. But that can make the brain’s memory center more vulnerable to damage.
If any of this sounds familiar, what can you do to reverse the impact of “techno-brain burnout”?
- The first one may sound obvious: Plan a “gadget fast, even for just an hour, Dr. Small says you’ll lower your technology-related stress.
- Also: Live in the moment. Have a meal without posting it to Instagram. Go to a concert without tweeting about it. When you interrupt an event to put it online, you’re less engaged with what’s happening and enjoy it less.
- One more tip from Dr. Small for beating your technology addiction: Take more power naps. Harvard researchers found that adding a 15-minute power nap to your day can reduce the negative impact of “techno-brain burnout.” It boils down to the fact that short naps are a proven way to restore your brain’s alertness, memory, and decision-making while helping you regain focus and lower stress!