Stress can sometimes seem unavoidable. There are little ways we can reduce the stress we feel through small adjustments in our daily routines. One contributor to stress is the overuse of technology. Although technology plays an active role in our lives, our work and our health, too much technology can lead to things like information overload, poor sleep quality and FOMO (fear of missing out)... just to name a few.

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Reducing stress related to the use of technology is essential for maintaining overall well-being in today's digital age. Even starting with something small may have a large impact on your overall mood and headspace. Here are some easy ways to manage and alleviate technology-related stress and bring more positivity into your daily life:

  1. Practice Digital Detox: Take regular breaks from screens by scheduling short periods of time each day to disconnect from devices completely. Use this time to engage in offline activities that promote relaxation and mindfulness, such as reading, spending time in nature, or practicing hobbies. This may be more difficult for those that work in a role centered around technology, but using already built in time in your schedule is a great starting point. Challenge:On your lunch break, engage with your co-workers over lunch and leave your cellphone in your bag. 

  2. Limit Notifications: Minimize distractions and overwhelm by adjusting notification settings on your devices. Disable unnecessary notifications or set specific times to receive alerts, allowing for uninterrupted focus and productivity during other times of the day. There are free tools, many of which you can find already programmed into your devices, that will limit the notifications you receive based on specific parameters. For example, on iPhones, you can choose to put your phone into a 'Focus Mode', which will only allow apps of your choosing to set off notifications. Additionally, you can get daily updates on your phone usage, including a breakdown of how you are using your phone (i.e. on social media, checking emails, talk time, texting time, etc.). Challenge:Set a goal to lower the amount of time you spend on your most time-consuming app.

  3. Practice Mindful Technology Use: Be mindful of how you engage with technology by practicing intentional and purposeful use. Before reaching for your device, pause to consider whether the activity aligns with your goals, values, and priorities. Practice mindful breathing or grounding techniques to stay present and focused while using technology. Are you a morning or evening scroller? Do you find yourself grabbing your phone when you don't have anything else to do? Challenge:Instead of picking up your phone in the morning or evening, practice gratitude. Think of five things you are grateful for.

  4. Establish Tech-Free Rituals: Create daily or weekly rituals that involve unplugging from technology and engaging in activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. Whether it's enjoying a leisurely walk, cooking a meal from scratch, or practicing yoga or meditation, prioritize activities that promote balance and well-being without the use of screens. This is a great opportunity to start a new hobby or simply practice being present in the moment. Challenge: Make dinner time the opportunity to connect with your family - tech free.

  5. Prioritize Sleep Hygiene: Create a technology-free bedtime routine to promote restful sleep and reduce the impact of screens on your sleep quality. Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime and engage in relaxing activities, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle stretching exercises. Doing things like meditation or yoga first thing in the morning or before you go to bed can help you maintain a clear mind. Challenge: When getting ready for bed, pick a place in your room (not next to your bed) to charge your device. This will force you to get up and grab your phone first thing in the morning. It will also force you to lull yourself to sleep without your phone in front of you.

By implementing these strategies, you can mitigate the negative effects of technology on your stress levels and well-being, fostering a healthier relationship with digital devices and promoting balance in your life. Discussing your stress level with your provider is also very important because they may be able to provide some options suited specific to you and your individual needs. 

Heyl Family Practice is a primary care practice located in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, serving adults with their short tern and longer term healthcare needs. With two conveniently located offices in McCandless and West View, as well as nine providers available daily, we have a lot of options for those who are trying to prioritize their health while balancing the challenges of everyday life. We are accepting new patients and would love to help you reach your health goals. Visit our practice page for more information on how we can help or to schedule an appointment.

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