What has the power to monopolize your time, relationships and even your thoughts? You’re probably holding it in your hand right now.
The science of how an abundance of technology influences us as human beings is still in its infancy, so we actually know very little about the long-term hazards of a screen-to-screen existence. However, we can inuit that constantly monitoring our email and posting Facebook status updates is making us less productive, more disconnected from our real lives, and less satisfied with ourselves.
Studies have indicated that:
- Social media appears to be linked to depression and anxiety
- The light emitted from our devices could cause sleep disorders
- Constant exposure makes our brain crave unhealthy amounts of stimulation and dopamine
- ‘Screen-time’ can cause physical issues such as vision problems and neck strain and promotes a sedentary lifestyle
The bottomline is that there’s no evidence which supports the notion that a hyper-connected lifestyle is in anyway healthy--emotionally or physically.
A ‘Digital Detox’ is when you power off your electronics, whether it be your phone, laptop, tv or tablet, and simply find something else to do! Temporarily relinquishing your devices will give you a clearer understanding of how you’re personally affected and show you what you stand to gain by mindfully rooting yourself in the present moment.
Potential benefits include:
- Improved quality of sleep
- Reduced stress
- Increased memory and attention span
- Less distractions and more productivity
Here are some tips for a successful digital detox:
Choose a practical day. A busy day at work is obviously not the ideal time to put your phone and computer away. Find a day when ‘unplugging’ won’t cause you anxiety (or your job!).
Do what works for you. The point is to enjoy your time away from the screen. For some, a digital detox means deleting a few tempting apps from their phone. For others, it’s storing electronics out of sight. Many people even choose to fully unplug and take a tech-free camping trip!
Make a list of intentions. What have you ‘not had the time to do’ lately? Is there something you need to focus on? How can you use this time to take care of yourself? Who do you want to spend it with?
Tell others what you’re doing. Aside from letting your loved ones know not to be worried by an unanswered text message, you’ll also gain some accountability partners. You may even inspire someone else to try it!
Take it easy. This is your chance to get back in tune with your own natural rhythms, rather than spending your time answering other people’s demands. Recharge yourself by listening to your mind, body and spirit!
Repeat as necessary. Try instituting a ‘no phones after six’ rule, or ‘screenless Sunday’ ritual. The more often we detach from technology, the easier it is to tune in to ourselves.
Whatever your motivation may be, there’s no harm powering down our tech every now and then. When we choose to replace our scrolling with self-care, we begin to act more mindfully and interact more meaningfully.
An Extra Five Hours A Day
It’s estimated that U.S consumers spend an average of five hours per day in front of devices--that adds up to 120 hours every month! Now, imagine if you cut your digital habit in half and gain an extra fifteen hours per week...what could you accomplish?
Some healthy habits to cultivate with your extra time could be:
- Developing your yoga practice
- Prepping healthy food for the week
- Journaling or doodling
- Planting a garden
- Quality time with friends and family
Log off, relax, and enjoy life!