When was the last time you went out without a phone? Yeah I know right... it made me shudder in horror too, I mean who on earth would deliberately leave the house without some kind of device?!
And it's not just because you need to be 100% contactable all of the time, no, there's that intense need to look busy if you're killing a bit of time between meetings, or you're waiting for a friend, or heaven forbid you're sat on a train and there's nothing to look at.
I'm as guilty of it as the next person, but having recently taken a bit of techno time out myself, I want to share some of the reasons why we could all benefit from a digital detox.
If you nervously twitch every time you hear a 'ping' and the thought of not being able to check what it is brings you out in a cold sweat, then it's time to admit you have a problem.
Taking a break from all things digital - and by that I mean phones, emails, social media, apps and games - allows you to take back control, because let's face it at the moment all of those things have got you by the proverbial balls!
I'm going to give you some cold, hard truths...
• The world is NOT going to fall apart if you haven't posted a pic of your Insta worthy dinner tonight,
• Bob from accounts CAN wait until tomorrow for those reports,
• And your friends are NOT going to disown you if you don't Snapchat them this very second.
If you allow the digital world to control how you function, then you are surely nothing more than a robot.
Look around and you'll see crowds of mindless zombies, heads dipped to 45 degrees, eyes squinted, phone to face, and no I'm not talking about the latest Xbox game, that's the evolution of modern humans and we're all at it.
Switching off from the virtual world forces us to take part in the real world. You remember... that place where you can actually talk to real people face-to-face, that place where you can do real stuff, see real things and experience your own real life rather than living through the eyes of complete strangers. Life is happening around us and unless you pay attention, one blink and you've missed it. So from this point on, try taking notice of what is happening now, rather than doing something purely for the purpose of having something to post on social media later.
The modern, digital age is fast; it's all about immediacy and the now, now, now! But that's not healthy, it's not sustainable and it's a fast track to burn out. A digital detox helps slow you down again, it allows you to breathe and to get back some of that precious time. There's no doubt we're all time poor, but if you were to sit down and honestly think about how you spend your time, I'm fairly certain a vast majority of it is wasted on social media. Social media is by far the biggest time drainer of all; you start off posting a status update then before you know it you're snooping at pics that a friend of a friend who you once met at a wedding 10 years ago has posted because what they're doing looks way more interesting than the spreadsheet in front of you.
And you said you never have enough time!!
When that temptation to see how the other half lives (and trust me it's never as perfect as it seems!) is removed, then and only then can you take a step back, take a deep breathe, relax, slow down your pace of living and use the extra time to do more of the things you love and more of the things you've always wanted to do.
It's a proven fact that as technology usage increases so too do cases of anxiety and depression, so for the sake of our mental health we all need to take a break. Every time we receive a social media notification, an email ping or a text message our brain releases dopamine - that's the very same chemical that motivates us, stimulates us, pleasures us and rewards us - yep when we feel all these things it gets us just that teensy tiniest bit more addicted and then we want MORE!
Sounds great right...?
Because if we're using technology to get our 'high' then that is surely no better than any other addiction out there. Addiction alienates you, it controls you, it belittles you and it runs riot with your self-esteem. So, imagine if you're feeling all that and then you log onto Instagram and see thousands upon thousands of perfect photos, each one cementing the negativity in your mind that your life is no way near as interesting, that you don't go to amazing places, that you're not as thin, fit or pretty as everyone else.
You see what I'm getting at, right?
I'm not saying you need to throw away your phone; technology, social media, the Internet are all incredibly useful tools and they will continue to do great things for our society, but with the positives they also bring a dark side that we all must learn to control.
I managed a week without social media and I LOVED it (you can find out how I got on here), but I appreciate that going a whole week isn't always practical, so instead I want to set you a challenge...I want you all to go on a 24hr digital detox and let me know how you get on.
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