5 Benefits of Doing a Digital Detox
Experts advise us to turn off and reboot our phones, tablets and computers at least once a week to clear their built-up cache and help them run faster and smoother. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves–take a digital detox, rebooting to replenish our own personal cache?
It’s that time of year where we go back to school and it feels like the start of a new year. So, there is no better time to practice a bit of a digital detox to start this ‘school year’ off well and to focus on our own energy, concentration and well-being. Here are five of the potential benefits of doing your own digital detox–taking a break for as long as possible and doable from your phone, tablet and computer.
1. Increased Productivity
Yes, it may sound backwards to think that your productivity could improve by turning off the devices you need to work. But, the science behind it says it all. People who take a break from their electronic devices for at least a half an hour a day or longer show increased levels of productivity and energy. We find that people who can disconnect and be present are going to focus their attention better and can accomplish more in a short time.
2. Better relationships
How often do you find yourself with a partner or friends sitting at dinner or watching TV on the couch, and all on their phones? Even though you are physically together, you are mentally somewhere else. Putting the phone away at dinner is a quick fix way to increase your connectivity to partners and friends without sacrificing your connectivity to work or social media…just check in before and after dinner and then let yourself focus on who you’re with.
3. Less Stress
Our brains react to stimulation by producing adrenal and cortisol in order to react to and deal with stress. Studies show that hearing the ding of a new email or text message releases similar hormones. This means that we get caught in a Pavlovian cycle of needing the stimulation and being conditioned to react to it. Breaking this cycle by turning off notifications, even for an hour or two, or at least turning them to vibrate, can help reduce stress and replenish your energy.
4. Better Sleep
In the world we live in, it is unrealistic to think that people can turn off their phones when they go to bed–with cellphones being the sole contact for most people, the need to keep aware of emergencies etc. is real.
But, we can adopt some good digital detox practices around bedtime and waking.
For example, if you can stop the emails, texts, Google searches an hour or more before bed, your mind has time to power down and can make it easier to fall asleep. Likewise, if you can take even five or ten minutes–say while you make the bed or brew the coffee or tea– when you wake up to delay rushing to check emails or texts, it can help to replenish your mental hard drive to tackle what the day may bring.
5. And yes…Better use of your online time!
Once you take a step back and have the time to evaluate how you use your digital devices, it makes it easier to see when you are being most productive with them and when you are just killing time. Putting your phone down for a while and recognizing that being present has benefits and nothing terrible will happen if you disconnect can reinforce good digital habits.
If you struggle to shut off, therapy can help. Contact us at CollaborativeCBT to see how starting therapy may help you find more balance in your life.