Digital Detox 4 Reasons To Do A Digital Detox | Digital Detox – How To Do It?

Digital Detox 4 Reasons To Do A Digital Detox | Digital Detox – How To Do It?

Taking a break from technology frees up time and has mental health benefits. You can learn the best ways to do it.

Being plugged in is a normal way of living. If you are like most people, your alarm on your phone wakes you up in the morning. Scan your text messages when you get ready for the news. You check email, chat with friends, and scroll through social media throughout the day. In the evening, you watch your favorite TV shows while online shopping and checking out your social media accounts. You use apps on your phone for meditation and white noise at night.

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That’s just a typical day for many people. In fact, Americans spend an average of four hours watching TV and about seven-and-a-half hours on digital devices. Unsurprisingly, so much screen time is stressing many of us out.

The solution may be a digital detox, which can provide relief from the pressure of constant connection to electronic devices. Research has found that doing a digital detox may even help improve your sleep, relationships and mood. Ready to try it? Psychologist Kia-Rai Prewitt, PhD, explains the benefits and exactly how to do a digital detox.

What is a digital detox?

The definition of a digital detox is to take a break from using electronic devices or certain media for a period of time, from a few days to several months. But the specifics are different from person to person. Things people avoid during a digital detox may include:

  • Checking email.
  • Playing video games.
  • The person is scrolling on social media.
  • Text messaging.
  • The person is using a phone or a device.
  • News or other programs are being watched.

Social media detoxes

Taking a break from viewing or engaging in social media is the most popular form of a digital detox. “Social media connects us with others in many beneficial ways,” Prewitt says. “But at the same time, it can also have an unhealthy effect on people.” Negative social media experiences can trigger anxiety and depression and affect self-esteem. This includes:

  • Being upset over something that has been posted.
  • Cyberbully is online verbal harassment.
  • There is a fear of missing out.
  • There are feelings of being isolated.
  • Social comparisons.

The benefits of taking a break from technology

If technology is holding you back from living your best life, doing a digital cleanse is a great way to find out. Being more productive at work, as well as being more connected with family and friends, can all be a result of being unplugged. There are benefits to taking a technology timeout.

Sharper focus

Prewitt says that it is easy to be distracted from what is happening around you with frequent notifications on electronics. You may notice more in your immediate surroundings during a digital cleanse. Your brain is able to concentrate better on your tasks.

Less stress

Too much information can make some people feel stressed. Prewitt says that he has worked with people who were upset from watching hours of news. They felt calmer once they stopped consuming news and started doing something else.

Better social interactions

Eliminating digital distraction gives you more time to pay attention to those around you. If you don’t have devices around at dinner, you can interact with your family more. You have the chance to meet someone new in the checkout line if your nose isn’t buried in your phone. If texting is not allowed, you are more likely to use the phone to chat with a friend.

More control of your time

Have you ever felt an overwhelming urge to check your phone or social media? You are not the only one. Americans spend more than two hours a day on social media and check their phones 96 times a day. For many people, checking their phone or social media whenever there is a few free minutes is not a real need, it is just a way of being. Taking a break from digital devices and media can help with Compulsive Use.

When I was studying for my licensure exam, I disconnected from Facebook. Prewitt says that it was so freeing because she wasn’t responding to the alerts. Even though I started using Facebook again, I don’t use it as much. I log out every day, so I don’t get disrupted. When I want to check it, I check it. It is a relief because I am not as focused on what is happening.

Signs you need to put down the devices

Are you wondering if you need a digital cleanse? If using electronic media causes you to have any of the following experiences, you may need to stop.

  • Depressed mood.
  • Irritated, frustrated or angry were the things that increased.
  • Feeling insecure.
  • A loss of sleep or interrupted sleep can happen.
  • I feel obligated to consume, respond, or check in.

You want to make sure that your digital media use doesn’t affect other areas of your life. Prewitt says that if you ignore responsibilities at home or work because of the amount of time you spend online, then you should consider a digital cleanse. If you lose interest in being social in person because you would rather connect with people online, that is a red flag.

How to do a digital detox

Prewitt says to follow these steps if you are ready to start a digital cleanse.

1: Decide on a behavior to change

Determine the issue first. Are you always connected to the internet? Does the news make you feel stressed out? Are you spending too much time on social media? Determine which activities you want to eliminate or reduce.

2: Create goals

If you want to reduce or eliminate the use of a certain device or type of media, you should set a goal for yourself. It needs to be specific. Will it be all day, or only at certain times? You can decide to only use social media for 15 minutes a day, put your phone in a different room at night, or not use technology on Sundays.

3: Make a time commitment

It can take time to break strong digital habits. It is advisable to commit to at least two weeks. It feels like you have broken the habit if you reach the point where it feels like you have.

4: Gather support

It is nice to have a partner, family member or close friend that will encourage you and provide accountability. Share your goals with people who are supportive. They can give you ideas on how to stop your targeted behavior.

5: Assess your progress

It is a good idea to check in with yourself a few days after you start your digital cleanse. If you swap one digital habit for another, be careful. If you are spending more time on social media now that you are not on Facebook, then you may need to take it down completely.

6: Consider long-term changes

The benefits and barriers you experienced during the digital cleanse should be remembered. When you stopped watching the news for three hours straight, what happened? What did you think when you weren’t using social media? Is it easier than you thought? If you want to keep the change moving forward, you have to decide if you want to. It would be a household rule that no one uses digital media during family dinners. Now that you have successfully completed your first digital cleanse, you can tackle changing more digital habits.

It’s important to take charge of how you spend your time and energy and what you give your attention to during a digital cleanse. It helps you realize what you want more and less of so you can break bad habits and create new ones.

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