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How Technology Can Affect Your Health

Living in a digital age, technology is a huge part of our lives. While it can be very beneficial, overusing it can be detrimental to your overall wellness. Read on to find out more.

In an age where doctors use tablets to document patient records and illustrate medical diagnoses, and virtually everyone carries a smartphone with them wherever they go, it's obvious that technology plays a vital role in society. Technological advancements have contributed plenty of positives, including making communication easier, granting access to information with the touch of a button and providing a more efficient, productive way to get work done and accomplish tasks. However, in spite of all of these great things our phones and computers can do, they can also have the opposite effect, even having a negative impact on our health.

Physical Health

While taking your phone with you everywhere might seem convenient when it comes to maintaining social connections, it can make things worse for your physical health. With touch screens that you are constantly grabbing at, cell phones can harbor a great deal of nasty bacteria. After you use your favorite app and then place the phone to your face to make a call, you can transfer harmful bacteria to your skin and potentially cause acne flare-ups or even exacerbate skin conditions like eczema. The University of Oregon conducted a study which examined the index and thumbs of participants and the touch screens of their phones. The results showed that 82 percent of the bacteria found on the participants' phones was also found on their fingers, which illustrates the significance of cleansing your hands and sanitizing your phone before usage. While the majority of bacteria found on the phones in this study was harmless, it is possible for dangerous bacteria to live on these devices and contribute to sickness. Using a sanitizer wipe to clean off your phone and taking care to wash your hands before handling your device can help combat this problem. 

In addition to the bacteria that can live on your phone, the bright light of your cell phone, tablet or computer can cause eye strain and keep your brain highly stimulated and in a state of overdrive—something that gives you that “wired” feeling and can prevent you from relaxing and falling asleep. The actual radiation from these electronic devices can also cause sleep problems. A 2008 study found that mobile radiation—which you're exposed to when in close proximity to your phone—can lengthen the time it takes you to fall asleep and reduce the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. Additionally, the same study found that mobile radiation contributed to giving some participants headaches. In general, being overdependent on your mobile device or computer may lead to lower levels of physical activity, which in itself is a factor that can put a dent in your overall wellness. Giving your phone or computer a break at least an hour before bed and cutting back on overall usage can help your body and mind unwind more easily and promote more restful sleep.

Mental Health

In addition to physical symptoms, spending too much time on your phone or other digital device may be a factor in the development of stress, self-esteem issues and even depression. Social comparison may act as the catalyst in inciting these negative psychological conditions. A study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that a high usage of a specific social networking site led to intensified feelings of personal dissatisfaction. Stacking your life and achievements against someone else's can drag you down and cause your self-esteem to plummet if you believe you're not “caught up” to where your friends are in life. This can also cause unnecessary stress and even spiral into depressive symptoms. It's important to make sure you take a timeout when using social media, and you don't get too hung up on what others post about their lives. Most people only highlight the positives and hide the not-so-great times from the public, so it can create the illusion that their lives are perfect all the time—something that is critical to understand for the sake of your wellbeing. Being glued to your phone can also put a strain on your in-person relationships. If you become so obsessed with your phone that you start to ignore your friends and family so you can spend more time on your favorite social media sites, it is probably a problem. Having social relationships is critical to total wellness and a general sense of satisfaction with life, so it's important to make sure you take the time to nurture them and not let technology interfere.

While there are plenty of positives to technology, it's critical to make sure you maintain a healthy balance, for the sake of your health. At eVitamins, we have plenty of wellness essentials and products to help you live a healthier life. 

Thanks for reading, and come back next time for more health news!

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