If you’re not using a smart device to read this, there’s a good chance that you currently have one within an arm’s reach. Between emails, calls, texts, and notifications, our screens are lighting up non-stop. People are spending more time than ever on their devices, and many are becoming digital addicts.
While we appreciate that technology has made our lives better in countless ways, research shows that our technology addiction is very real. Every time we receive a notification or message on our smart devices it triggers a release of dopamine. We experience a strong urge to come back for more because dopamine is the neurotransmitter that drives us to seek rewards. It’s a vicious cycle that takes a serious toll on our mental wellbeing, health, and close relationships.
Studies show that there is an association between many forms of technology and things like anxiety, depression, and lower mental satisfaction. And social media can be the worst. Yikes! Platforms that make it easy to connect with friends are a great tool, but they can also create false perceptions. People often only share their best moments on social media. If you spend too much time on these sites, it’s easy to convince yourself that everyone else is living a better life than you. This “compare and despair” attitude can lead to increased feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.
The whole point of technology is to make our lives better, so how can we stop it from making us feel worse? The good news is we don’t need to completely give up our gadgets – but we do need to take a break.
How To Do a Digital Detox
A digital detox can take many different forms. From a full-on digital detox immersion to a periodic daily or weekly detox regimen, you can make it what you want. A true digital detox means going without all technology like TV, internet, computers, smartphones, texting, social media, etc. But you can design your detox however you want.
The Full Digital Detox
A total digital detox involves completely removing digital technology from your life for a set period. Ideally, it’s long enough so you can really feel the effects. This type of detox is challenging, especially for those whole work with technology, but you can use this approach for a weekend or a holiday. Another option for a full digital cleanse is a destination digital detox, where you take a trip specifically to get away from technology. It’s simple. Let everyone know you are unavailable, set your email to auto-respond, and hit the road!
Periodic Digital Detox
A periodic detox involves removing digital technology form your life for a portion of your day or week. It’s a bit like intermittent fasting with food, in that you give yourself regular breaks from constant media consumption. The periodic breaks allow you to readjust from the stimulation of screens, texts, and social media. A healthy habit of regularly disengaging from technology can help you stay grounded and less likely to experience addiction.
Lighten Up on Digital
If you’re not looking for a full-on digital cleanse -- but still want to lighten-up your digital diet -- we’ve got some tips for you:
Social Media App Limits
A great way to work in more digital-free time is to utilize social media app limits. You can take advantage of built-in timers in your smartphone that allow you to limit how much time you spend on each app. Your phone will give you a warning when you’ve reached your allotted time, after which you’ll be stopped from continuing with the app. No will-power required!
If using more digital tools to cut down on your digital use isn’t your cup of tea, try going with old-fashioned self-restriction. It can be as simple as giving yourself a certain number of minutes each day or week to scroll through your social media feeds. Don’t have that kind of self-control? It’s OK; most people don’t. Another option is to delete apps like Facebook and Instagram from your phone, so you are limited to using them on your computer or tablet – where you are less likely to scroll into oblivion.
Turn it Off
It can be hard to stay away from all screens because most people work on computers, but a phone detox can be just as helpful. That’s right, simply turn off your phone. You can try doing it for a couple of hours at a time, or even one designated day of the week. You can even invest in lockboxes and other physical devices to help keep you from switching it on. But for most of us, turning it off and putting it out of sight works just fine.
Technology allows us to connect and share information in truly amazing ways, but too much can lead to a life of total digital distraction. The good news is we can live in the digital world in a healthy way by practicing balance.
At Incann, we believe that you live your best life when you live with intention. By cultivating healthy habits and positive thoughts, you can thrive in the digital world. Try a digital detox. When you take a break from technology, you’ll feel calmer, more fulfilled, and connected to what matters.
Incann. Live with intention, one drop at a time.