To Be Healthier and Happier, Reduce Your Screen Time in the Morning
Studies show that people who spend less time on their phones looking at social media experience better mental health as well as reduced stress and anxiety. Well-being may be as simple as disconnecting from technology – and reconnecting with yourself.
Instead of waking up and immediately reaching for your phone, try taking a pause, even just ten minutes to reflect on the day ahead and your goals, intentions, and personal values. By doing this you hit reset on your mental health, instead of diving down the rabbit hole of self-comparison with others we may or may not even know.
How to have a fresh start in the morning
Spending too much time on social media happens to all of us, but it can be damaging. If you lay in bed after you wake up in the morning – or at night for that matter – scrolling through videos of tropical destinations, adorable pets, delicious food, or the latest he-put-a-ring-on-it story, you may be inadvertently setting yourself up for feeling more stressed, anxious and depressed, and less focused on your personal goals. This can lead to a downward mood cycle which in turn can cause you to reach for all the wrong foods as comfort. Even if you curate your platforms based on your preferences, the feed can immediately start you off on a negative morning.
Jay Shetty, author of Think Like a Monk, cites a study in his book conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia and Harvard. "Participants spent just six to fifteen minutes alone in a room with no smartphone, no writing instruments, and nothing to read. The researchers then let them listen to music or use their phones. Participants not only preferred their phones and music, many of them even chose to zap themselves with an electric shock rather than be alone." Shetty concludes: "Most of us don’t sit down and think about our values." We can’t address our thoughts and explore our minds when we are preoccupied."
Further research explains how social media impacts our mental health. Several studies show that when participants undergo a "digital detox," (some for hours and some for up to five days), they experience better self-awareness, happiness, and retain more information throughout the day.
Prioritize your mood over posts
High levels of social media use were correlated with problematic behaviors, low self-esteem, and depressive symptoms," according to a study conducted by a team of researchers at American University. The team explored the characteristics of 68 university students who experienced social media detoxification. The analysis discovered most students reported a "positive change in mood, reduced anxiety and improved sleep during and in the immediate aftermath of the detoxification period."
Another study conducted by two Ph.D. college professors found that students who were not using their mobile phones during a lecture retained more detailed information and scored a full letter grade and a high higher on a multiple-choice test than those who were actively using their phones. Therefore, productivity and efficiency are boosted when we aren't distracted by our phones.
Preteens who spent 5 days in nature, without technology, had significantly improved nonverbal emotional cues and comprehension compared to the group who participated in usual media practices, according to a study by UCLA.
A third study conducted at the University of Sheffield found that children who spend more time on social media experience reduced satisfaction with all aspects of their lives, minus their friendships.
Shut off blue light before bed
Not only does the act of scrolling through social media interfere with our wellbeing and self-esteem in the morning, but in the hours before bed, blue light from our screens reduces the production of melatonin released by the body, which controls our circadian rhythms, according to SCL Health. Evening exposure to blue light makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the following day. And to complete the cycle, lack of sleep is linked to stress and anxiety, two triggers we can easily avoid to live a healthier life.
Replace screen time with self-care
Instead, replace spending time scrolling through social media with the things you love like spending more time with your loved ones in person, reading a physical copy of a book, walking around your neighborhood or exercising in the gym, or sipping your favorite cup of coffee first thing in the morning while you reflect on your goals and relationships.
All of these easy tactics will help you boost your overall mood, get a better night's sleep, and improve productivity. When you focus on creating a strong purpose, you can actually extend your lifespan, according to longevity specialist, Dr.Vuu who believes having a purpose helps your resilience, lowers your stress hormones, and allows your healthy genes to be expressed, which further boosts your state of health and ultimately, your longevity.
Boost your immune system with botanicals
If you're one of the 150 million Americans who enjoy coffee in the morning, put your phone aside and try a moment of reflection instead. Set your intentions for your day without distraction or the thought pollution of other people's lives as they depict them online.
Try a healthier version of your favorite drink
Boost your coffee's natural healthy antioxidants by stirring in Laird Superfood's Wellness Functional Mushroom Botanical Blend to jumpstart your day with immune-boosting, adaptogenic ingredients like Astragalus root, Agaricus mushroom powder, and Chaga mushrooms. It contains essential nutrients like vitamins D, B2, B5, B3, and minerals like manganese, and potassium to live your healthiest. Add 1 teaspoon to your coffee and enjoy the rich, earthy flavors while you reap the health benefits and practice mindfulness without your phone or computer in sight.
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