Unplug: How to reduce anxiety and stress in a digital world

The paradox of modern society is that the more connected a person is digitally, the less they can be connected in reality.

The balance between online and offline is continually being sent out of whack, with most people glued to their smartphones or devices.

For many people, communication to them is conducted on their social media accounts or online and rarely face to face. In the high tech world, it is too easy to fall into a smartphone addiction whereby hours upon hours are spent glued to the tiny screen.

The growth and innovations of smartphones has been incredible, yet the main drawback is that it has re hardwired the human brain to harmful behaviours and tendencies. For instance, there is a panic when a phone battery is depleted or there is an error.

People become incredibly impatient if there is only a few seconds of lag time in loading and moreover their gratification and validation has been reduced to the sound of a ping from another person liking their post(s).

The online world can also be very deceptive. This does not even account for the many Instagram models using photo tricks or photoshop to airbrush unattainable and unrealistic bodies.

Some of these models or Instagrammers go so far as to create fake travel backgrounds that they then insert themselves into. All this to give the impression of luxury, style, and false wealth that they are able to travel to exotic locations when really that sunny beach was in their makeshift basement photo “studio”.

The problem is that many of these photos are believable and trick the eye. For the average viewer, especially a young person, seeing a nonchalant Instagrammer living the high life gives an incorrect assumption that they have fame and fortune because of their looks or whatever they are trying to sell.

Companies mainly care about their influence and are often willing to overlook questions of authenticity when collaborating on a project to advertise their product to their thousands or millions of followers. This is unhealthy viewing and creates a ton of anxiety for those who feel frustrated at never being to attain these unattainable lifestyles standards and overall image.

When inundated with images proclaiming what success and beauty looks like, one of the best strategies to limit anxiety is to practice mindfulness (or mindful meditation). By finding a quiet place to sit for some time and recognize thoughts, people can identify those thoughts that are doing harm. Often people are so hooked to their devices or their busy schedules that they become distracted as to what is good for them and overlook those beliefs that do harm.

Ironically, there have been rebellious Instagram models that crack under the pressure to post the perfect picture. They spend hours taking and editing a photo and then obsess over each like and comment for validation.

Mindful meditation points to what is truly important in life as well as taking a break from smartphones or continually checking emails.

This is why it is recommended to shut all devices off before each mindful meditation sessions as that one little notification beep is all it takes to spark the temptation to check and break concentration. Literally unplug and spend time with yourself and your thoughts.

Another great method to reduce anxiety in the digital age is to schedule time for physical activity. A healthy body is a healthy mind, and this is a way to distract from negative thinking while releasing stress. This could be a walk in the park or 20 minutes at the gym. By becoming more in tune with your body, even sculpting different looks, people have a better grasp of reality when viewing fake airbrushed photos.

Those that exercise at least a few times a week experience greater energy and overall wellbeing. It is also helpful to incorporate relaxing activities into your lifestyle. For instance, reading can be incredibly therapeutic as well as listening to mellow music at the end of a long day.

Everyone needs something to unwind, so do not be afraid to try out different activities and experiment with what works best for you. At times, you can make the digital age work for you with certain meditation apps or online games that are designed to calm the mind.

For example, online casino sites like Kong Casino have a large variety of immersive slot games that are meditative and help reduce stress. NetEnt’s ‘Lights’ and ‘Strolling Staxx’, Yggdrasil’s ‘Golden Fishtank’, Red Tiger Game’s ‘Gemtastic’ are just a handful of the many relaxing online slot that players can win down to. Part of the reason these slots are so soothing is that they have beautifully designed visuals and soft sounds as well as an easy gameplay.

The structure is generally 5 reels, about 3 to 5 rows, a number of payways, and extra bonus rounds and features that have multiple chances for thrilling rewards. The other great aspect is that all these games are compatible as mobile slots so players can enjoy anywhere and at any time.

For those that cannot overcome anxiety from the digital age and are hooked on their devices, it may be advised to go on a digital detox. This involves either limiting the amount of daily use of the smartphone or laptop, perhaps only an hour to answer messages, or even going full cold turkey and no stopping any activity on social media altogether.

Sometimes this is what it takes to jolt a person from an addictive lifestyle choice and force them into a revelation on the harm that it can do. Happiness should not be based on how many likes a photo gets or who has the most followers.

Those that chase this path may find themselves with many followers, but very little actual friends. And as with any technological device, there can always be a defect. The defect is when people lose touch with themselves, the people around them, and what is reality.

Technology is unavoidable in our modern life, it is a part of us that we hate to part with, and so the key could be to make our technology work for us. It may be only when we unplug that we can plug into the lives and happiness we really want.