A digital detox is a period where you completely abstain from using electronic devices, such as phones, laptops, and tablets. It might seem normal to be so connected all the time, but this constant digital presence is actually quite a recent phenomenon. From emails to text messages and social media updates to web browsing, the average person spends much of their time tethered to at least one electronic device. Even if you’re able to unplug for short periods, you likely feel the need to be responsive to some kind of digital communication. There are several reasons why you might want to consider doing a digital detox.
Here are five of them:
Technology can be stressful. According to the American Psychological Associations’ annual Stress in America survey 2017, a fifth of US adults admitted being stressed over technology use (2).
A digital detox can help you resist some of this stress, whether it’s from feeling the need to stay constantly switched on and responsive, or because of the actual effects of technology use (such as eye strain and disrupted sleep patterns).
Heavy device use, especially before bedtime, can interfere with sleep quality and quantity.
The light emitted by screens can delay the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. This means that it may take longer to fall asleep, and you’ll also get less restful sleep (1).
By unplugging and giving yourself enough time before bedtime to wind down, you’re more likely to enjoy better quality and more restorative sleep.
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Improves Ability To Concentrate
Your brain has a finite amount of processing power, but it can be overwhelmed when you try to do too many things at once.
If you’re constantly checking your phone or using multiple devices, you might find it difficult to stick with a single task for an extended period before switching to something else.
A digital detox can help improve your ability to concentrate on other tasks. When you have more focus and are less distracted, the quality of your work will likely improve.
Connects With The World Around You
We’re living in a world where people are increasingly isolated from one another. Technology can be a major contributor to this sense of isolation.
According to a study by the University of Chicago, the number of people who say they have no one with whom they can discuss important matters has tripled since 1985.
By disconnecting from your devices, you’ll be more likely to connect with the people around you.
You can start by turning off notifications, setting aside specific times for checking email and social media, and putting your phone away when you’re with other people.
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Maintains Work-Life Balance
Technology can be a major contributor to the work-life imbalance.
Constant connectivity means that we’re always available, even when we’re not at work. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and overscheduled.
A digital detox can help you create more boundaries between your work and personal life and give you more control over how you spend your time.
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How To Do A Digital Detox?
There are several ways you can go about doing a digital detox. You can start by gradually reducing the amount of time you spend on your devices or by taking a complete break from all electronics.
You might also want to consider disconnecting from the internet altogether or using a device-free zone (such as a room in your house or a specific spot outside) to unplug.
Whatever route you choose, the important thing is that you make sure it’s right for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to digital detoxing.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by technology, overscheduled, or stressed out, a digital detox might be just what you need. It can help you reconnect with the world around you, improve your focus and concentration, and create more balance in your life.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness (2015, pnas.org)
- Stress in America: Coping with Change, Part 2: Technology and Social Media (2017, apa.org)