Detox Your Digital Life
Sometimes even staying away from our smartphones for just a few minutes is difficult, but bet you, you didn’t even know that separating yourself from your digital gadgets and life can improve your life a great deal. It’s more than likely that if you are reading this article, your smartphone is lying within reach of you. These days our smartphone is our best friend that we can’t be separated from, not even for an hour or so. It’s an extension of us, we’re always ready to grab it when it rings. Apart from our phone, we spend more and more time on digital devices, probably much more than 2 hours in a day. There is a steady flow of incoming messages and phone calls. Think about all your digital devices that have screens; there are probably not many times when one of them isn’t lit up, waiting for you to continue.
If it’s the latest trend that keeps ahead of the pack, you have to have it
We have to be honest and admit that technology has certainly changed our lives, making them just a whole lot easier – in fact, many of us have become addicted to all the digital gadgets we own. People are prepared to queue in lines for hours; days and nights just to get the ‘perfect’ phone to flash about; better than all the rest -like they did late last year in their thousands across London, Sydney, Tokyo and the world – just to get hold of the iPhone X.
When new messages come in, dopamine gets released in our bodies. This important chemical causes people to desire, to want to search and seek; to be curious. Read about dopamine and digital devices and form your own opinion. But from our smartphones to our computers to everything digital, we are actually in a vicious cycle and this is unbeknown to us, the fact that it is taking a toll on our health as well as our mental wellbeing, let alone our relationships. Surveys suggest that there is a link between some of the high tech gadgets to anxiety, depression, marital dissatisfaction and many more.
Do you feel desperate to escape the digital trap?
To end the vicious cycle of digital devices in your life, people ask whether they need to step away entirely from these gadgets. Today we do need these technologies, but it is possible with some easy steps, that you can still stay plugged in, but ‘detox’ at the same time. This will help you to feel more fulfilled, connected and calm. When these high tech gadgets no longer have a hold on your life, you will feel like you are starting to live again to the fullest because you are finding a balance between your work and your life.
With all the data breaches around today, creepy ads to be found on the internet and all the same old and older photos cropping up and piling up on the social media sites, it might be just the perfect time for you to detox and gain some control back of your digital life. Just think, each and every day, you are leaving behind something of yourself in the digital world; you let friends know which coffee shop you were at, you let them know about your new clothes and where you bought them from. On social media sites, you can be sure that nothing goes unnoticed. You might just believe that you are just another data number, but believe this – your data is going somewhere and being used for something! And you don’t have much time to consider this fact as you press the ‘like’ and the ‘share’ button several times a day!
No matter what your status is online, the fact of the matter is most of us spend heaps of time infront of a screen, sometimes at our laptops with the phone in hand. Many people realize and understand that some of their online connections feel more ‘real’ to them and impact more on them than their connections in the real physical world do. Therefore finding a balance or doing a digital detox can be rather hard to contemplate but it certainly can help.
Let’s see what happens to us when we digitally detox
We develop deeper friendships and our posture improves
If you can go 3 days without any technology, you will notice that your posture improves. Your energy levels will start to improve too. Instead of looking down when you walk, like you’re still looking at your smartphone, you will stand up straighter and look more open to conversation, appearing more approachable.
Searching on google make conversations disappear
The content of our conversations can change when we no longer have so much technology in our lives. If you are on the computer, you quickly look up answers to the things you need, but if you do not have the technology, and you are with a group of people who also don’t, you keep on talking, looking for and discussing the options and answers to the problem. These type of conversations form bonds because you get to know people more, gaining insights into what makes them tick – memories and bonds are made from lovely conversations.
Your memory improves
When you are a couple of days without technology, you kind of remember the finer details of things; you remember things people said a few days previously, such as names of people and places. Neuroscientists say the reason for this is that people are more ‘present’ when involved in a conversation, making their brains capable of processing and storing more Information more easily. With all the directions that technology is going today, people’s brains are not registering the more minor details anymore that are in fact so important when it comes to bonding and learning things about other people.
More and better sleep
Those who did take a break from the digital world to detox say they felt more rejuvenated, more free, more relaxed and ready for sleep. For those who didn’t, neuroscientists think this is because the lighting from computer screens suppresses the melatonin in your body, making us more alert as we go to sleep; not feeling ready for sleep in a natural relaxed way. There are studies which show that people who are looking at their phones just before going to sleep do not particularly get a good night’s rest, let alone straining their eyes.
When detoxing, you have changed perspectives
When people go offline, they “leave” technology behind for a bit, hoping to make other changes to their lives. Many people, it was discovered through findings, made changes to their relationships, their career or their health. Being away from the demands of the digital word allowed people to concentrate on more important issues. Kovert did a digital detoxing experiment and discovered that those who detoxed from digitization were adamant about making the way they viewed technology permanent. Many people on this experiment said it gave them the opportunity to make life changing decisions. People said they wanted to disconnect from technology at night time and also over weekends and “bask” in the benefits of detoxing during those times.
Why you need to detox
Detoxing digitally today has actually become quite a fad, but it’s all for outstanding reasons because they can change your life! A digital detox can turn out just like you will have it to be. You can be very strict with yourself and decide yourself which areas of your life you need to work on.
Today, everyone is connected and because of modern technology, we get to know a lot about a person, some more than others – like what he or she had for breakfast, lunch, and supper! You might stand in a queue somewhere and look at the person in front of you or the one behind you and they are on their phones. Visit the doctor’s reception area – no one looks at a magazine anymore or chats with the person next to them – they almost look scared too, so they stay connected to their phones.
Technology has changed many things for the good, let’s not deny it, but it also does a good job of removing people from being in the present moment. Just count up the hours you are spending in front of some sort of screen. These days, you move from YouTube to Pinterest to Facebook, to Instagram all in a minute and sometimes you even believe you are being kind of productive, but you really aren’t.
All right, it sounds like I need to detox, but how?
It’s important that you create for yourself a detox plan to help you to fit it into your own life. Your goal might be only to worry about all your emails and to organize your messages. Maybe you just want to quit spending so much time scrolling down endlessly or mindlessly whether it is Instagram, Facebook or whatever. It’s also important that you feel ‘good’ about clearing and cleaning up. We are going to offer you here a 5-day detox plan to see how you like it with different plans for each day. Let’s go!
FIRST DAY: Start cleaning up your emails
Clear out your inbox of your mail section. Go through the important emails and delete the ones you no longer need, filing away the things you need to keep. Next, move on to the social media part, going through all your accounts that you follow and are subscribed to. This is the time to unsubscribe and unfollow the ones that you aren’t interested in anymore. Make room for some new accounts that you are passionate about.
SECOND DAY: don’t go online until afternoon
Unless you need to go to work every day and work on a computer, try and be away from screens in the morning, where you can be in the real world, putting your phone on silent and if you are not working, your computer as well. Try and plan your morning to do things that you never seem to find the time to do. Try and wait until noon before you “disappear” into the digital world.
THIRD DAY: leave one of the social media platforms behind for a day
Choose one of the social platforms that you visit a lot and try and stay away from it for a whole day. Don’t choose one that you don’t visit such a lot because that will just defeat the whole purpose. Try and fill your time with things you enjoy doing away from the digital world.
FOURTH DAY: work with only one tab
We all know how possible it is to flit in-between all your favorite tabs, and before you know it, plenty tabs are opened. Try and keep only one open each time. It can be difficult especially when you need to look at something specific, but often that one reminds you of something else and you go on and on. A good idea is to jot down what you need to look up or what is important to you so that you can refer to it whenever you need.
FIFTH DAY: make it media-free
On your last detoxing day, try and go your whole day without checking out any media. Put your phone away and your computer off (unless it’s your work computer). Plan ahead for this day so that you have something to do that needs doing or something you love doing to keep you away from the digital appliances and the media platforms that you feel addicted to.
We touch our phones a staggering 80 times a day – it can make some of us want to cringe the way we have become slaves to these devices. And the really distressing thing about it is, many of us don’t really see the damage we are doing. Yes, you might well have contemplated ways of ending this slavery, trying to ban your phone at night and sleeping with it as far away from you as possible, or taking out only one of your gadgets when you are out with friends (just for that one selfie). You might have tried to go phone-free for an entire weekend. When you meet your friends in person without any phones, trying to deliberately limit your emails as well, you will discover how further and faster you can go. A solid sit-down meeting with someone could cover more than 100 emails going backward and forwards in-between you.Face to face meetings with people helps to improve your perceptions and your trust and also ensures that any misalignments are brought to the fore early before they become major problems. When you change your life like this, you will find that the emails are only a supportive role to the person you are seeing face to face.
Does a digital detox improve health?
When you really are physically present with people, your dopamine’s (see link on dopamine above) start working. Studies into relationships and social health discovered that being disconnected to people can actually be detrimental more to your health than what smoking, or high blood pressure or obesity does. When we are connected to real physical people, we not only feel a lot better, but it actually makes our health better. Our immune systems get a boost, inflammation is known to fly out the back door, the stress hormones are reduced and stress, depression, and anxiety start to drop. The study also discovered that being socially connected can add years to your life. We have all been in the company of people who constantly look and touch their phones while we are with them, watching how they react sohastily to every message and call as if their life depended on it. We all know how that can just kill the mood,and what it’s really doing is effectively telling you that the phone and the other person matter more than you do. Learn to keep yours away from you when at meetings or out with friends – do yourself and them a favor.
Get off that crutch
Once again, technology has and probably will continue to make our lives a lot easier, but it also has its negatives in that we are less focused, less social and less productive. All the continuous flowing of digital appliances and technology has put strains on relationships, it has ruined a good night’s rest, it is causing neck and eye strain, let alone attention deficit disorders – what about cancer? Don’t get this wrong – technology is allowing you to reach people too, certainly, but it can be a massive distraction. For some, it is a crutch, a social crutch, it helps them ‘feel better’ about themselves.
- Jump up immediately you get a message on your phone to read the message?
- Feel stressed and anxious if you can’t be checking up your social media platform for updates?
- Feel a rise of panic and disconnection when you have lost your phone?
- Text while you are driving?
Be honest with yourself and answer the above truthfully. If you said ‘yes’ to the questions above, then perhaps your digital appliances have started to hijack your life – this might be the perfect time for you to detox, to set limits and to get rid of your FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out.Don’t miss out on the life you might have had, the one you wish you could recapture; where you once were. You can be fit again; you can deepen your relationships, increase your productivity and see how your posture becomes stronger and straighter. You can become more likable and smarter because you are sleeping better, and you can start to remember the small finer details that are also so important.
The sad thing is that we don’t even really understand the machines and devices that are being developed for us and which we are so reliant on for our interactions with people. Even our cars are repaired today with the use of computers, and just a few minor glitches on our laptops or our phones can send us in a spin.
People are not experiencing the real-life moments like in the past anymore, It’s no longer necessary to get up and go anywhere with friends to concerts, to churches, to activities, because they are all shown live on your computers and phones. Today, the moments that we capture on our phones are becoming much more important to us than the physical beings living those moments with us, those who are standing beside you as you capture the memories!
Modern day people consider that life is lived through digital media rather than starting first-hand with real live people. As Max Frish, a novelist, said already back in 1957: “Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it”.That sounds depressing and sad! Do you need to detox? If you feel you need do, don’t delay; you too can experience the freedom, cleansing, and peace that digital detoxing can bring.