As our lives become more and more high-tech, we tend to forget our need for touch--and there is a cost! Studies show that social media negatively impacts mental health while physical touch improves mood and relaxation. Shutting down your computer and smartphone for a week may be out of the question, but taking an hour away from your notifications for a massage at the spa is just the rejuvenation you need.
The cost of high tech lives
Head out to any public space and take a look around. You’ll likely see most people with a device in hand…some may even have two or three!
More than three billion people use social media. That’s around 40% of the world’s population. And on average, each of those people spend around two hours on social media every day—liking, sharing, and updating.
While technology is still relatively new, the generation born between 1980 and 1994 is considered “digital natives” because their lives have always been immersed in technology. These digital natives are now 20- and 30-somethings, and data is only starting to become available on how this technology immersion is affecting human health.
High tech lives can heighten mental health problems.
Between false news and cyberbullying, social networking can be a breeding ground for negativity. Couple that with the human condition of comparison, and most people face the struggle of unhealthy self-perception. Mental health professionals worry that social media negatively impacts mental health, causing higher levels of stress, shorter attention spans, and increased anxiety.
While cyberbullying is believed to be a school-age problem, it happens between adults too. These digital messages can be aggressive and unpleasant, showing up in emails, direct messages, and even public comments. Cyberbullying impacts mental health, daily mood, self-esteem, and so much more.
Technology has obviously made connection easier and made life more efficient, but our high tech lives have a cost. It’s important to take the time to unplug from screens.
The benefit of high touch lives
How often do you experience safe touch? Did you know that physical contact is crucial for human development and overall health?
In a study conducted by Tiffany Field, a specialist on touch, showed that preterm newborns who received three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy every day for 5-10 days gained almost 50% more weight than infants who only received standard medical care. This report may explain why children who grow up in orphanages without much physical touch often failed to grow to expected height or weight.
Physical touch releases oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone, which awakens positive thinking and generates feelings of compassion and trust. Positive and safe physical touch also increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, which are two neurotransmitters that regulate your mood by relieving stress and anxiety.
Physical touch boosts the immune system as well. One study revealed that women who received more hugs from their partners had lower heart rates and blood pressure. Physical touch offers the reassurance of security, which causes relaxation and calming, and this increases overall health. When the stress hormone cortisol is lowered, your body is more capable of fighting disease as it doesn’t have to deal with managing chronic stress.
Reap the benefits of touch by scheduling a massage at Cloud 9 Spa. Whether you just need to relax or work out some deep knots, we have a full menu of offerings. Call now to book your appointment at (352) 335-9920.