Living in the age of online shopping, streaming, navigation and social media, it seems that nearly all of our waking hours are spent on a screen. Reports show that we actually spend more time on digital devices than we do asleep. This heavy reliance on technology has the potential to turn us into mindless robots rendering us incapable of interpersonal communication without the help of a device. Spending time away from technology allows for more time engaged in physical activity, our relationships and teaches us how to live without constant stimulation. Research also shows that excessive technology use is positively correlated with anxiety, depression and mental distress. Studies have reported that increased social media use by adolescents and teens encourages pleasure seeking or validation-seeking behavior, which may contribute to feelings of anxiety, inadequacy and distress. Taking a break from technology can help lower your stress and anxiety levels, quiet mental chaos and strengthen your relationships.
Here are our top 5 reasons to dive head first into a digital detox:
- The constant buzz of your devices can lead to increased tension and over-stimulation. Freeing yourself from the continuous stimulation of text messages, emails, music and social media will allow your mind to wander freely and you can begin to truly experience the world as it is happening around you, not through the screen of your devices.
- Disconnecting can actually lead to a deeper connection. Take this opportunity to share your feelings, engage in conversation, breath more deeply and let go of your expectations.
- Master the art of single tasking. Without your phone in hand, you are able to focus all of your attention on what you are doing in that moment without any distractions.
- Set personal boundaries. Being available to everyone at all times forces you to live according to other people’s agenda. Not answering those late-night texts or emails shows that you are not available at certain hours.
- Increasing productivity. Studies show that employees that rely on technology to do their job actually waste about a third of their day on technology. Disconnecting from the bombardment of words, ideas and activities may increase your own creative thinking and bursts of productivity.
Does just the idea of unplugging give you anxiety? Start slow with a disconnecting routine. Set the goal to disconnect from your devices for one to two hours per day or at least one hour before bed. Use this time to read a book, catch up with a friend or prepare the next day.