Is your smart phone damaging your health? - Juice Daily
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Is your smart phone damaging your health?

On average we check our phones a staggering 1500 times per week according to a UK study by Tecmark.

We also spend three hours staring at our screens and perform 221 tasks on them each day. It’s a wonder we have any time to eat and sleep!

The study found while phone usage has reduced the time we spend slaving over computers, it’s also produced a worrying side effect – digital amnesia.

Of the 2000 people surveyed, two-thirds log into Facebook without thinking about it, and four in 10 do the same when it comes to checking emails.

And an Australian 2014 Deloitte survey found more than 50 per cent of us check our social pages up to twenty times a day. That’s 170 per cent up on the previous year.

For Sarah Lakos, 25, a social media producer, her phone has become like a surrogate child she can’t be without.

“I’m constantly like ‘what is it doing?’, ‘Is it okay?’” says Lakos. “It’s become a little pathetic, to the extent my partner knows the power of my phone and when he declares ‘bed time’ he picks up my phone and takes it to my bedside table knowing I’ll follow it like a golden retriever.”

The struggle to disconnect has become a common source of conflict in Lakos’ relationships, but it’s also an important part of her job.

“I worry about losing the ability to stay in the present – there’s always a voice saying ‘check-in’ or ‘Insta the moment,’ but at the end of the day, it’s my job! I work in social media and need to know what’s going on in the world. That naturally means a lot of screen time.”

Similarly, Hannah Vasicek, 25, a jewellery designer and business owner also suffers with the conflict between balancing business and her personal life and worries about the effect it has on her health and relationships.

“I get anxious if I don’t have my phone, it’s become a source of comfort as a business owner and I fear I’ll miss an important email or call that could affect the business if I don’t have a quick response,” says Vasicek.

“My partner and I have had quite a lot of fights and he takes my phone off me when we go out to dinner. I also have a terrible habit of using my phone while I’m driving.”

Vasicek says while she likes the idea of weaning herself off her phone, her business doesn’t stop – so even if her health is suffering and she is exhausted, she can’t simply switch off.

While our devices have undoubtedly become an integral part our lives, they have also quite quickly become our number one enemy.

Digital detox

The art of ‘disconnecting in order to reconnect’ has become a global phenomenon. And it doesn’t have to be as strict as a ‘no-phone-zone’ retreat, it’s about bringing balance back.

By switching off from technology you switch back into the more important things – you know like your family, friends, job and that other often neglected person, yourself.

How do we do that? Meditation can help. No longer the trade secret of hippies, meditation is fast becoming the number one mind balancer around the world.

IBM has over 500 of their Australia and NZ employees involved in a mindfulness program and Ford, Google, Target, Adobe and NAB are all now following suit.

Kevin Jankelowitz, co-owner of Centred Meditation – Sydney’s first ‘drop-in’ meditation centre, says the societal need for meditation has become a vital part of day-to-day business.

“Companies are finally starting to realise their health and wellness budget is something they need to take an active interest in – it’s less of an employee benefit as a necessity.”

Jankelowitz, whose studio is located in Sydney’s financial district or as he puts it – ‘the heart of stress land,’ runs four daily meditation classes specifically tailored to the urban crowd who are constantly stressed and glued to their screens.

“We wanted to provide a place that someone could come, do a quick 30 minute session, feel the benefits and still have time to grab lunch on the way back to the office,” he says.

Jankelowitz says by simply taking a digital pause and stepping out of the office to breathe and meditate it can become a powerful shift in mindset.

“We get meditators who have really profound experiences from one session…and science shows the effects start occurring from the first time you meditate.”

Laura French, 26, a human resource manager and business owner hasn’t looked back since she began practising meditation a year ago.

“I was always busy and when I did have a quiet moment to myself, I’d scroll social media for a while,” says French.

“Now I head out of the office for some fresh air and take 20 minutes to meditate, either in the park if weather allows it, or in the front seat of my car. It’s a great way to de-stress, clear the mind, focus more on high value work and have genuine ‘me-time.’”

Ready to take that detox now?

Disconnect with this quick meditation fix:

  1. Get seated in a comfortable position (preferably without your head leaning on anything to help prevent you from falling asleep).
  2. Bring your attention to the tip of your nose, your belly or your chest, feeling your breath flow in and out of your body.
  3. Effortlessly observe your breath, without attempting to control it. Each time you realise you are thinking, gently return your attention to the breath, without judgement.
  4. Continue this for five to 15 minutes and then take a minute or two to rest before slowly opening your eyes.

Note: The important thing to remember is that thoughts are part and parcel of meditation. The trick is to be unfazed by the fact that you are thinking and gently give preference to your breath.

Sam Bailey

About the person who wrote this

Sam Bailey

Sam Bailey is a Sydney-based journalist whose passion for health and fitness and has seen her write across health titles including Womens Fitness, Womens Health, Body + Soul and Daily Mail Australia. In her down time you can find her sipping green smoothies, attempting complex yoga poses and soaking up vitamin D on Bondi beach.

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