Reduce Stress With A Digital Detox

Reduce Stress With A Digital Detox

In today’s world, it’s unrealistic to consider eliminating digital influences from our lives (unless you want to go off the grid!).

Technology supports connection with loved ones and more efficient work communications. At the same time, technology is actually designed to be addictive, and many of us struggle to set boundaries around technology.

Taking charge of your digital life – choosing how, when and where you use technology – allows you to be fully engaged in all aspects of your life, maximizing your efficiency, happiness, and sense of purpose.

Studies show that tech time can impact wellbeing in a number of ways. In the past two decades, we’ve seen an increase in health consequences from technology use:

  • Physical Health Consequences: We are more sedentary; technology contributes to walking and driving accidents.

  • Financial Consequences: We freely spend money on internet games and online shopping while losing productive work time.

  • Social Consequences: Technology has changed the ways we connect with each other and the world around us.

  • Psychological Consequences: We are less tolerant of boredom and less in touch with our feelings.

We can all cultivate a healthier relationship with our devices through awareness of technology’s influence on us and on the world around us. Increasing awareness of how we use digital devices gives us back the power of choice. We can recruit our technology to be a friend rather than a foe.

Here are some simple tips to recruit your technology to work for you rather than against you:

  • Create Tech Free Zones: The concept of propinquity teaches that the things closest to us in space have the biggest psychological impact on our world. In other words, things in our environment (like technology) require a designation of energy and awareness, affecting us even when we aren’t actively engaged with them. Consider having one or more tech-free zones in the house to facilitate your digital detox.

  • Protect Your Sleep Space: 75% of people sleep with phone next to bed, and 64% of households have a TV in the master bedroom. The blue UV light from these screens simulates daylight and actually triggers jet lag. Consider keeping your phone outside of your bedroom while you sleep. If you like to use a laptop or watch TV before bedtime, buy a pair of UV-blocking glasses to help protect your sleep time.

  • Check In Rather Than Check Out: When you pick up your phone or use another digital device, pause and take a deep breath. Notice any strong bodily sensations or emotions that may be present. Then, proceed in using your technology with full awareness.

  • Change Your Phone Settings: Turn on the “I’m driving” setting to stay safe on the roads. Turn off or reduce all trivial app notifications to prevent unnecessary distractions. Turn on the grayscale tool to reduce the attention-grabbing colors of apps. Turn on the nighttime UV blocker for better sleep.

  • Download Smart Apps: Use the native screen time tracking app or download Moment to track your screen time. Download the Space app which will require you to take 1-2 deep breaths before opening apps of your choosing (email/social media/etc.).

  • When You Detox, Really Detox: Commit to one activity or time every day when you put your phone away for 15-75 minutes. Choose to be fully present for a tech-free immersive experience like taking your dog on a walk, playing you’re your kids, painting, or eating dinner with the family. 

  • Commit to a Daily Mindful Meditation Practice: Even spending 1-5 minutes per day training your attention to rest in the present moment will yield results when it comes to improving concentration and resisting distractions. A Harvard study by Matt Killingsworth found that when people are fully engaged in what they’re doing – whether it’s taking out the trash or eating a delicious meal – they tend to be 10-20% happier than those people doing the same activity whose minds are wandering. Mindfulness meditation trains us to be fully engaged (and happy!) with and without technology.

Taking charge of your digital life – choosing how, when and where you use technology – allows you to be fully engaged in all aspects of your life, maximizing your efficiency, happiness, and sense of purpose.

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