Doing a Digital Detox for Better Health

For most of us, being connected to our devices such as mobile phones, laptops and the Internet is the new norm.  Studies have shown that the average U.S. adult spends approximately 11 hours every day listening to, watching, reading, or interacting with media.

While people often feel that they can’t imagine life without their tech devices, research and surveys have found that the use of technology can also contribute to a large part of stress experienced.  This stress generally stems from the ever-present digital connection and constant need to keep checking emails, texts, and social media. This stress usually culminates in problems such as sleeping problems, mental health concerns, impacted work/life balance, social discontent and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Getting back in the groove and for overall well-being, try a digital detox. It might be beneficial if you find yourself getting anxious or stressed out if you cannot find your phone, needing to check your phone every few minutes, feeling depressed, anxious, or angry after spending time on social media or preoccupied with the like, comment, or reshare counts on your social posts.

A digital detox refers to taking some time off the usage of tech devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, tablets, and social media sites. It allows one to focus on real-life social interactions without any interruption. This form of detoxing can be viewed as an opportunity to refocus your attention on what matters. By making a conscious effort to ignore the digital devices, at least temporarily, people can release the collated stress that stems from constant connectivity. It can be done gradually so that it does not leave you feeling cut off from what’s happening in your digital world.

Contrary to popular opinion, a true digital detox does not involve completely stopping the usage of any and all digital devices but rather to make your device usage work for your own life and demands. This could involve outlining key parameters and ensuring that you are using your devices such that it helps rather than hurts your emotional and physical health.

Various ways of digital detoxing:

A digital fast: Try giving up all digital devices for a short period of time, such as a day or up to a week

Recurrent digital abstinence: Set a day of the week to go device-free

A specific detox: If one app, site, game, or digital tool occupies too much of your time, focus on restricting your use of that problematic item

A social media detox: Focus on limiting or even stopping your social media use completely for a specific period of time

While it isn’t always possible or even preferable to completely disconnect, setting limits on when these digital connections are allowed to intrude on your time can be good for your mental well-being.  Setting boundaries on the type and timing of connections you’ll attend to helps ensure that you can enjoy real-world activities completely free of digital diversions.

A digital detox can happen however and whenever you want it to.  This could include stopping the use of all digital devices for a time or restricting your usage to just one type of digital device.

This digital detox could cause some anxiety, especially if you are not used to it. Find ways to stay distracted and try out non-digital activities. Or go out of the house for a walk when you are tempted to use your device. Making a conscious effort to distance yourself from your tech device might not be easy and could even be uncomfortable and stressful at times but doing so could well be beneficial for your health and well-being.

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