Reverse the negative effects of your overconnected life.
Jacqueline Detwiler 1 / 6
Are You Man Enough to Unplug?
People say “Luddite” (a person opposed to technological change) like it’s a bad thing, but, frankly, we could all stand to ease up on the texts, tweets, e-mails, and notifications. In a 2012 Indiana University-Purdue University study, 89% of undergraduates reported being so digitally addicted that they occasionally experience phantom phone vibrations in their pockets. Research presented at the 2012 meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology indicated that people’s desires to consume media were stronger than their cravings for alcohol and cigarettes. All this time we’ve been worried about losing our iPhones; meanwhile, we’ve been losing our minds! Save yourself with these helpful tips, and enjoy a few unexpected benefits along the way.
You might think you’re good at multitasking, but studies show that when people do many things at once, they just waste most of their time switching between tasks. Take e-mail: According to a Longborough University study, it takes about 64 seconds to return to your regular speed of work after reading a new message. What’s worse, a recent study from Carnegie Mellon found that when people were interrupted while performing a cognitive skill task, they answered 20% more questions wrong than people who were left alone. David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work, suggests turning your e-mail off while doing anything important. “If you think looking at an e-mail is distracting, not looking at e-mail is even more distracting,” he says. “What if it’s a million dollars? If you know there are e-mails, you won’t be able to stop yourself.”
2. Talk to your girlfriend eye to eye SHE'LL LIKE YOU MORE
As tempting as it might be to work out relationship kinks via text message, a 2013 study from Brigham Young University suggests that hashing it out in person is a far better idea. Women who argued, made important decisions, or apologized over text tended to report worse relationship quality than those who didn’t, as did men who texted their significant others more often. Take a breath, think it over, and wait to talk in person.
Watching others YOLOing while you’re FOMOing won’t do much for your mood. In a 2013 study from the University of Michigan, students were texted five times a day and asked how they were feeling. The researchers were able to correctly predict unhappy responses when they knew subjects had logged in to Facebook since the previous text. And two weeks later, those who had logged in most often had the lowest happiness scores. The reason? The researchers speculate it has something to do with comparing yourself with that share-happy friend from college who apparently lives on a yacht. Give the Book a break, or maybe even (gasp) shut down your page for a while.
Constantly looking at your mobile phone is turning you into an antisocial hermit. That’s according to a recent study out of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, which found that people who frequently whipped out their phones (or even just thought about using them) were less likely to exhibit prosocial behavior, like volunteering or helping a stranger, than people who left their phones alone. The reason, the researchers concluded, is a psychological effect called “priming.” Because you use your phone to communicate with your friends, seeing or using it brings to mind your social connections; you’ve already got plenty of those, your subconscious thinking goes, so there’s no need to be altruistic and work on developing more. Our take: Turn it off, put it away, and watch your real-life social network expand.
5. Dim your gadgets’ brightness YOU'LL GET MORE SLEEP
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 International Bedroom Poll, almost three-quarters of people watch TV or use electronics in the hour right before bed. And why is that not a great idea? A 2012 study from the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed that light from backlit screens can reducethe production ofthe sleep chemical melatonin by 22%. If you’re drawn to the screen like a moth to a MacBook, dial down your display’s brightness to drift off easier.