In the last blog post we explored how our physical space can have a major influence on our mental wellbeing and sense of stress. There is no denying that cluttered spaces can create feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, while tidy spaces can invoke a sense of calm.
But what about our digital space?
Can our digital world have a similar impact as our physical world? The answer is yes. And we really shouldn’t be surprised by this given how much time we spend attached to our device…aren’t you reading this right now on some sort of device right now?
The constant stream of notifications, news and stimulation from our phones, computers and TVs, can be a lot for our minds to take in. Our brains are designed to constantly be on the lookout for potential threats in our environment. When our brain picks up on these perceived “threats”, our fight or flight response will be triggered, sending our body into a state of stress. When it comes to our devices, this constant stimulation and persistent flow of information can be very easily regarded as a threat, whether we realize it or not. This means our phones, computers and TVs are constantly sending us into a state of stress without us knowing it. This is why we want to be very intentional with how we use our devices and how much we use them.
Here are a few tips to be more intentional with how you use your devices to give you more mental clarity and remove some unneeded stress:
Unsubscribe to emails. I think you would be surprised about the negative impact that overflowing inboxes and constant notifications have on us. Why not invest a few minutes and unsubscribe to countless emails that you have no intention of reading to give you some digital clarity and remove some possible triggers for your stress response.
Turn off your notifications on your phone. Similar to your constant barrage of emails, the non-stop notifications from your favourite food ordering service, every social media platform and countless other apps, is taxing mentally and emotionally. Although these disruptions are minimal, they distract you from the task at home and take you away from the present moment. Why not take a few moments to change the settings on a few of your apps so they aren’t sending push notifications to you.
Set time limits on your apps. I know I am not the only one who finds themselves in hourlong social media scrolls or other rabbit holes without realizing it. Not only is this a time and energy drain, but it can also be emotionally exhausting depending on what we are consuming. By setting time limits on certain apps, you are much more conscious of what you are spending your time and energy on and you have to make a mindful decision to keep using the apps.
Take a digital detox. Whether you are turning your devices off for a few hours in the evening or hiding them away the entire weekend, any time away from your devices is beneficial. It might feel a little unnatural and slightly anxiety provoking at first because we are so used to being on our devices, but that will slowly fade away. Personally, when I take a few days at the cottage where cell phone reception and wifi is non-existent, it is freeing to no longer feel so dependent on these little devices.
Create an electronic-free space. Create a space where you can relax and unwind away from distractions. This allows you to get away from the constant barrage of information our devices are sending our way and also creates a space where you can be with your thoughts, meditate, journal, set intentions, practice your gratitude or anything else to nourish your mind and soul.
Now that you have a better understanding of the subtitle impact our devices can have on our stress levels and overall mental wellbeing, I hope these strategies help you be more intentional with how you use them.
Want to learn more?
Check out this blog on setting up your space to eliminate and relieve stress.