Younger generations think we go too “old school” when mentioning concerns about the digital age. I’m the first to admit there are many wonderful ways technology has enhanced our lives, but one cannot deny the negative effects, as well.
Walk by any coffee shop today, and you will see people buried in their phones. When you go out to dinner with your friends, do you now find there are extra rectangular-shaped guests at the table, stealing your friends’ attention? For many of us, our need to always be connected has gotten out of hand.
The Negative Effects
I’m still in awe of how much we can do from any location through the magic of smartphones. It is truly magnificent, but it can come with a price if we’re unable to pull ourselves away. Did you know that being so attached to your mobile devices can:
- Lead to a shorter attention span?
- Cause you to be distracted in all aspects of your life?
- Negatively affect your relationships?
- Reduce your productivity?
- Prevent you from living in the present moment?
I’ve seen the term “FOMO” in several articles lately; it stands for “fear of missing out.” Do you suffer from this disorder? Do you ever feel like you can’t go more than a few minutes without checking Facebook, because you might miss something important? Or how about reading news headlines incessantly? Between suffering from FOMO and always allowing ourselves to be reachable by everyone, how can we ever have time for ourselves and to relax?
These handy devices have endless positive uses, but they also can cause you to lead a life of stress. Our brains need quiet time to recover and reflect on our experiences.
It sounds terrifying to many when I tell them it’s healthful to unplug on a regular basis. My clients’ eyes get wide, their mouths go dry and the “buts” start coming. “But I have to be reachable!” “But I can’t go an entire weekend without knowing what’s going on.” “But my friends might think something happened to me!”
Trust me. It’s doable, and it’s good for you. How long you choose to unplug is up to you. Perhaps you just have one night a week after work when your phone goes in a tray and doesn’t come out until morning. Maybe you have one weekend a month where you “detox” from social media. Place your social media icons in a folder where they aren’t as tempting and don’t open them until Monday. Or maybe you start as small as making the rule “no phones at the dinner table.” Begin where you are, and choose an option you can stick to and benefit from.
Benefits of Unplugging
When you unplug you:
- Have clearer thoughts due to fewer distractions and interruptions
- Can better connect with the people around you and improve your relationships
- Are able to be present in the moment
- De-stress without the demands of being connected
- Get more done
- Connect more with your surroundings
Fun Ideas for Digital Detoxing
Try these ideas for your time unplugged:
Instead of This Do This
Text a friend Share a long meal
Check online headlines Have a cup of tea and read a REAL newspaper
Play gaming apps Pull out the Scrabble board and grab a family member
Snap pictures with your phone Grab that fancy camera and finally learn how to use it
It’s amazing the difference occasional unplugging can make. For further ideas to reduce stress, connect more with those around you or work on your work/life balance, contact me, Karen David.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.