When less is more: Why first responders should consider a digital detox

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18565126_M - a friendly and smiling hispanic female officer with her patrol car.In a society that values a technological tether, it can be difficult to disconnect from technology altogether, but it can be done.

First responders, by the nature of their jobs, are always plugged in and on the go. However, it’s critical to occasionally put your phone down and try to recenter.

Think back to life before smartphones. You probably allowed yourself to be present and not multitask 24/7. While it’s not feasible to live a technology-free life, it is possible to exercise some boundaries with the goal of owning technology instead of allowing it to own you.

You’ll enjoy better rest, boosted productivity and have more time for simple pleasures. Beyond these general perks, let’s look at the specific mental health benefits you can reap from the occasional technology detox.

Curb stress and anxiety

Tune in to the news and it’s no surprise that consumption via technology is provoking stress and anxiety. While it’s good to be informed, there is such a thing as a preoccupation. Experts say we should only spend 30 minutes on social media per day. According to the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, limiting this engagement can lead to better mental health and positively impacts overall well-being.

More time to focus on you

Do you ever wish you had more time for hobbies? Maybe you want to start working out or reading books more regularly. These healthy activities can really serve you and help round out a stressful day. All of those minutes spent online can really start to add up and detract from leading a fulfilled and examined life.

More time to relish life’s joy

When was the last time you really enjoyed that cup of coffee? Or savored a conversation with a good friend? Finding joy in life’s everyday experiences can help you find the good in almost any situation. So the next time you put your phone down, meditate on one thing you’re grateful for, and that positive energy will only expand.

Be present and connect with nature

When our heads are buried in our screens, we miss out on the world around us. Spending less time with technology can provide you with more time to connect with nature. It’s been shown that the natural world has a grounding effect and increases mindfulness and can promote positive mental health.

As you work on your relationship with technology daily, you’ll start to notice many positive changes. That said, it’s not going to be an overnight endeavor but the rewards are great. You’ve got this!