Stress is unavoidable. Everyone experiences it, and a little bit of stress isn’t a bad thing. But, to say we’re living in a stressful time would be an understatement. Unfortunately, too much stress can lead to both physical and mental health concerns.
It’s important to understand the different types of stress — including digital stress — that can impact your life. While technology is an incredible resource with countless benefits, it’s also impacted our lives in ways that can range from uncertainty to overwhelmedness.
If you’ve been practicing yoga for any length of time, you already understand its relaxing benefits. But, if you’re feeling burnt out from digital stress, knowing how yoga can help you deal with it can shift your focus and improve your well-being.
Additionally, you may not even realize you’re feeling overwhelmed by digital stress without fully understanding what it is. With that in mind, let’s break down the definition, and dive deeper into how yoga can help you tap into a more relaxed state away from the effects of technology.
What is Digital Stress?
Think about how much you rely on cell-phone and computer technology every day. You might use it for work, especially if you’re employed remotely. You probably use it to connect with friends via social media or to send messages. Many (most?) people rely on it for entertainment purposes. While technology can contribute to many positive experiences and make life easier, digital stress occurs when you have a negative experience with digital tools.
Some of the most common causes of digital stress include:
- A bad user experience with a website
- Pressures caused by social media
- Technology that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to
- Feeling like you’re missing out on life because you’re stuck behind a screen for work
While digital stress can start out as nothing more than an annoyance or frustration, it can lead to serious concerns and health issues, including anxiety or panic attacks.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can manage digital stress, including setting boundaries with your technology use. Another effective way is to use yoga to reset and find a sense of inner calm in the digital chaos.
How Yoga Can Help
Yoga can benefit you greatly if you’re struggling with digital stress.
The deep, controlled breathing done throughout a yoga routine allows you to practice mindfulness. You can focus on the present and the way your body feels in that moment, rather than feeling overwhelmed by your negative tech experiences.
Yoga can help you to stay grounded and present, so you’re less likely to fall into the trap of modern technological distractions. You may be less tempted to spend all of your time in front of a screen.
Finally, yoga can improve your general health in this sedentary society. About 80% of Americans suffer from lower back pain, and a lot of that likely has to do with how much time they spend sitting. Most people don’t have perfect posture. Spending the majority of your time hunched over a computer or digital device can lead to muscle and spine problems, and may even put you at a greater risk of obesity.
Not only can yoga improve your posture and flexibility, but it’s a great workout. As a bonus, boosting your endorphins through physical activity will naturally help to reduce stress and improve your mood.
Consider a Digital Detox
Yoga can be an integral part of a digital detox. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by technology, detoxing from it completely might be the best option.
What is a digital detox, exactly?
It’s a period of time when you make a conscious decision to refrain from using any digital devices. That includes smartphones, computers, tablets, smartwatches, and more. That might seem next to impossible in this technological world, but planning ahead can make it easier.
Some tips to keep in mind to make your digital detox a success include:
- Deciding the right time to do it (a time when you won’t need to use technology for work)
- Thinking through the logistics of navigating the world without digital assistants
- Deciding how long to detox
- Putting your electronics out of reach
You’ll get more out of your detox if you use your time to practice self-care, help other people, and focus on your overall well-being and health. Yoga is a great practice to include in that, and an effective way to help you feel re-centered and calm if you start to feel anxious without your digital security blankets.
Having your entire family or social support network on board for a digital detox will also help. It’s much easier to stick with something that is so digitally challenging when you don’t have to see your kids and partner walking around with their smartphones.
Plus, your family will benefit. Teenagers, for example, are especially prone to digital stress and depression, and it’s often linked to social media use. There’s never a bad time to get your kids interested in yoga. No matter their age, you can introduce them to the benefits, and they can start making yoga part of their everyday routine.
Digital stress isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, as we become more reliant on technology, digital stress will likely continue to build. Thankfully, yoga can help to reduce it and manage the symptoms of digital stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this tech-obsessed world, don’t be afraid to shift your focus during your next yoga session, and use it as a way to unplug and de-stress.
Book your yoga retreat at Sewall House in Island Falls, Maine, to get started.