Your Spring Digital Detox
Do you remember when the main technological annoyance was the landline ringing during dinner?
And when did the family wrestling for the remote turn into a silent lounge with everyone hunched over a tablet?
Digital devises are sold as ways to keep us connected with each other, but studies now show the wired world is interfering with our lives and playing havoc with relationships. Like many, I’m a sucker for social media, but with Spring in the air and nature beckoning her tranquil hand, I’m feeling that this is the perfect season for a digital detox.
If the feeling calls to you too, here’s a quick How To Guide for the unplugging process:
Be honest now.
Are you in a controlling relationship with your phone?
Are you at its beck and call?
Do you fight the need to check the text that just came through?
Phones go where we go. As a result they invade our private conversations, private moments and private lives.
Continual access to multiple social media platforms can also create a wired state within; an extended arena of noise and compulsion creating a deafening “white noise” in our lives.
A recent British survey found that three quarters of women in committed relationships feel that mobile phones are interfering with their love life.
In America, a child therapist has warned parents about the effects of mobile use on family life. She described children’s upset at having “no eye contact on school pick up until an important text is written and sent”.
If you find your mobile is getting your attention more than the loved people in your life, it’s time to put your foot down.
For a set period of time over the weekend, or for two nights of the week, agree with your family or partner not to have access to mobiles or smartphones. If you are expecting a vital call, put the phone on a shelf or in your bag out of reach.
I have a teen daughter. I KNOW this could be a hard one to negotiate … but try it.
Use the time that you would be plugged in to reconnect with each other. Talk about something you’ve learned during the day. Make plans. Have a laugh. Be creative.
Humans are naturally conditioned to pay attention to noises, however small.
As cavepeople, if we weren’t triggered to action by the tiniest piece of stimulation, we probably wouldn’t notice the predator creeping up behind us. Because of this, we are hardwired to respond to new information coming in – even if we are in the middle of trying to write an assignment or reading a book.
Checking emails and updates whilst working may lead you to think you’re multi-tasking, but brain scans reveal that actually the brain is simply switching from one task to another at a very quick rate.
The result is similar to pulling an all-nighter.
By switching activities quickly, we actually reduce our IQ by 10% and become around 40% less efficient at what we’re doing.
We may live in a digital world, but human beings are designed to be in nature.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, two centuries ago, people have become increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Lives that were once regulated by Circadian Rhythms are now governed by man-made clocks.
With the rise of the Internet and other technologies we are even further removed.
Living here on the Isle of Wight, we are blessed with the most incredible beaches, forests, hills and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
My plan is to get outside, breathe the fresh air and see the difference it makes to my headspace – and productivity.
Ever heard the saying, “if a tree falls in a forest and there’s nobody to hear it, then does the tree make a sound”?
The new version could be, “if I do something, and I haven’t posted it on social media, has it really happened?”
At what point did we collectively convince ourselves that unless our lives are photographed, updated and “liked” that they lack innate value?
Sometimes it is great to share our exciting news, but if you are locked in an addictive routine of skimming social media you are at risk of losing touch with your own life goals.
In a world that is hyper-connected there is something quite sacred about experiencing a wonderful thing and feeling comfortable about not telling the whole world.
Whilst platforms such as Facebook can be very cool for self-expression, they also lure people into making their lives a performance for some invisible audience.
By taking a month out from social media, you’ll notice yourself drop psychological baggage that you didn’t even know you were carrying. No longer sucked into watching other people’s lives unfold and comparing your own existence to theirs, you are able to focus on your own dreams instead.
Up for a period of down-sized digitality?
Sounds pretty blissful, doesn’t it?
Wishing you a week of gorgeous Zen.