Digital Detox: How to Disconnect and Why It's Good For You
Sat, April 10, 2021

Digital Detox: How to Disconnect and Why It's Good For You

When we wake up in the morning, the first thing most of us do is get our phones and check our notifications. Today, people can’t live without their phones and consider them their “constant companions” / Photo by: kittirat roekburi via Shutterstock

 

When we wake up in the morning, the first thing most of us do is get our phones and check our notifications. Today, people can’t live without their phones and consider them their “constant companions.” 

As much as these devices can help and entertain us every day, too much of everything can have unwanted consequences. Nowadays, there is more information flowing into people’s lives, some of them distressing and challenging. There are more possibilities for interruptions and distractions, while also facing social pressure to disclose personal information. Technology is not only putting too much stress on us but also taking over our lives. 

A 2017 cover story of the Atlantic titled “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation” revealed that there is correlational data linking teen mental health with technology. According to Vox, an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media, the number of high school students who contemplated suicide between 2009 and 2017 increased by 25%. Between 2005 and 2014, the number of teens diagnosed with clinical depression grew by 37%.

While these figures show that more teens are willing to admit that they are struggling and are seeking help, the deaths caused by suicide in this age have also increased. A recent study revealed that poisoning attempts by girls ages 10 to 12 increased by 268% between 2010 and 2017. While several factors could have influenced the deaths, there’s no denying that technology took a part in these. 

In today’s fast-paced era, it’s hard to escape technology even if we try. The best thing we can do is take a break from technology for a while, or what we call a digital detox. "Digital detox" refers to a time when a person refrains from using tech devices. Taking a break from technology allows people to focus on real-life social interactions without distraction.

Why We Need a Digital Detox

Every day, most of us feel the need to connect and immerse ourselves in the digital world. Most of our friends are there, news is often published on social media platforms, all the latest happenings can be found on the Internet. All of these make us want to check our phones now and then because we fear missing out. However, a life of hyper-connectivity can take a toll on our overall well-being. 

Spending a lot of time online means that we have less time to spend doing real-world activities we enjoy. This could also mean having less time with our loved ones. According to Forbes, a global media company focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle, a recent study into social health and relationships revealed that a lack of connection can be even more detrimental to health than smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Being connected to people not only makes us feel better but also improves our health. This improves our immune system and reduces our anxiety and depression, stress hormones, and inflammation. 

A digital detox can also help us think. Most of the time, we are bombarded with too much information and details, making it difficult to prioritize what is urgent. Stepping away from our phones will allow us to gain some much-needed space from work. People can have time to reflect, pause and observe. 

Disconnecting From the Digital World

A digital detox can do great wonders for our overall well-being. Previous studies have shown that it can help people sleep better. The continuous light exposure from the screens of our devices can keep us awake all night. A digital detox can make us more productive than ever because it can make an individual feel more rested, more aware, and less stressed out.

“A digital detox gives our minds and bodies an opportunity to restore their natural rhythms. It can enhance relationships and productivity. It can provide you with a genuine opportunity to feel mentally and physically relaxed,” Jennifer Weniger, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist, said.

According to VeryWell Mind, a trusted and compassionate online resource that provides guidance for mental health, there are several signs that a person needs a digital detox. This includes feeling anxious or stressed if you can't find your phone; feeling depressed, anxious, or angry after spending time on social media; feeling compelled to check your phone every few minutes; being preoccupied with the like, comment, or reshare counts on your social posts, and more. If you exhibit one of these signs, here are some ways you can disconnect:

1 - Reflect on how much time you spend online.

The first thing you need to do is take a step back and reflect on how much time you use your phone every day. From there, you can plan on gradually spending less time online. You can start by swearing off your most-used social media app for a week or turning off notifications during work hours. You can also turn off the vibration setting on your phone so when a notification comes in, you won’t be bothered.

2 - Think of activities that you can do.

Without your phone, you can do plenty more things. You can write, walk in the park, talk to a friend, or spend time with your loved ones. Make your digital detox an opportunity to do all the things you haven’t done in a while because you were busy with your phone. 

A digital detox might be uncomfortable at first because we are used to having our phones with us all the time. However, this would help us reconnect with the people and hobbies we hold dear.

A digital detox might be uncomfortable at first because we are used to having our phones with us all the time. However, this would help us reconnect with the people and hobbies we hold dear / Photo by: AT Production via Shutterstock