Although Ed Sheeran’s social media ‘switch off’ may have most teenagers staring at their screens in despair, the singer could well be ahead of the game when it comes to being happy.
It takes a brave man to shun 16 million Twitter followers and 5.5 million subscribers on Instagram. But Ed Sheeran’s announcement that he was taking a break from “seeing the world through a screen”, could ultimately make him a lot happier, according to vitality and motivation podcaster Tony Wrighton.
For the last three years, Wrighton, who is also a Sky Sports presenter, has been taking a break from his mobile and computer for at least two hours a day. The results for energy and happiness levels have been significant.
“All the things we love the most in life don’t involve screens, whether that’s chatting with friends, having good food, or working out. So rationally, why should we all feel like we have to look at our mobile device or computer hundreds, maybe even thousands, of times a day?” he said.
Speaking exclusively to Westminster World, he explained his ‘switch off’ started as an experiment:
During the experiment, Wrighton kept data on how he was feeling.
“I started logging every day how happy I was feeling out of 10, how much energy I had out of 10 and how long I switched my phone off for.
“After six months the data was analysed: the longer I switched off for, the happier and more energetic I felt. When I switched off for eight hours a day my happiness and energy levels were through the roof.”
And there are other benefits of taking a screen break: “When you switch yourself off, you drag yourself back to the present”, said Wrighton:
Three years on, Wrighton said the benefits are without question. Sheeran has vowed to take his digital break until “at least the autumn”.
Writing on his Instagram account, the multiple award-winner explained he was “taking the opportunity of not having to be anywhere… to travel the world”.
Opting out of the ‘always on’ generation could well see a happier Sheeran, but how long his fans and PR can cope with his social media absence is another matter. He should be congratulated, but one suspects when there are records to sell, it will be time for Sheeran to switch himself back on.
You can hear more from Tony Wrighton on his digital ‘switch off’ at his Zestology event here.