Our lives are ruled by digital, be it in the form of a cell phone, computer, laptop, iPad, or TV. About 56% of American adults own a smartphone, and 35% own mobile phones that aren’t smartphones, with only 9% of the population owning no phone at all.
While it’s no secret that we are addicted to technology (as seen by our obsessiveness for checking social media, keeping our phones at an arm’s length, and even waking up in the middle of the night to check our phones), research shows just how detrimental our addiction can be. In fact, a recent study says that our technology addiction is similar to drug cravings.
Nomophobia, no mobile phone phobia, is the onset of severe anxiety on losing access to your smartphone. Anyone who is addicted to his or her phone understands it is the first thing they reach for when they wake up, and the last thing they check before going to bed. When we don’t have our phones, often to mindlessly scroll through social media or check our to-do list, we feel somewhat helpless.
Needless to say, our technology addiction needs to be dealt with. We need to interact with other human beings more and not waste our brain cells on pointless Instagram feeds. Technology is wiring our brains differently and could be deadly to our intelligence.
Here are some ways you can successfully detox from technology, and hopefully get in the habit of not relying on your phone every minute of every day. And just so you don’t have FOMO, recruit a friend to do the technology detox with you as well. Before you start, set a goal. With any cleanse, they don’t last forever, so setting a three-day or five-day period where you are on your phone none or once a day will be beneficial. Repeat on a monthly basis.
Forget a juice cleanse and replace it with a technology cleanse. Start in small increments. Don’t dive headfirst into leaving your phone at home for a week, but instead leave it in your car or at your home when you go to the grocery store or a movie. This allows you to slowly begin to concentrate on other things.
Fill a void
When you’re without your phone, you’ll realize that you don’t know where to focus your attention or what to do with yourself. Call a friend to meet for coffee or go on a walk.
Put your phone on silent, or even turn it off
If you normally have your phone on loud or vibrate, it may be helpful to put it on silent. The less you hear your phone ring, the less you’ll be inclined to check. Although you may suffer from Phantom Phone Syndrome, the idea that we feel our phone vibrate only to find there is no message. Better yet, turn your phone off but keep it with you. If you have an emergency, you can turn on your phone. If you do this, have willpower to keep it in a drawer at work or in a separate room at home.
Try going one full day without your phone, iPad or watching TV
All jobs require some sort of technology, such as a computer. If you really can’t give ALL technology up, try going one day without your mobile phone or TV. Instead of sitting down on the couch when you get home from work, head out for a music-less jog (that’s right, no phone or iPod!); you’ll find that your head is clearer, and you’ll feel more rewarded from your activity.
Connect with your loved ones
If you’re the kind of person who sits at dinner with their phone on the table, or in your hands, and barely even knows what your loved ones look like anymore, put the phone down. Start by having phoneless meals and conversations when you’re with family or friends. Be aware of your phone usage when you’re with your loved ones. Either put it in your pocket or leave the phone at home; connecting with the most important people in your life face-to-face and with no phone is something you’ll forever cherish.
Replace your technological activities
Play a game on the computer? Fantasy football on your apps? Binge-watch Netflix? Replace these activities with reading a book, going for a walk, writing in a journal, or doing something proactive. According to Mashable, the average American adult spends about 11 hours on digital media. Even though this may be at a computer during work, we spend our non-work hours plugged in as well.
Reconnect with our Zen
When we go without technology, we are much more aware of our thoughts and how we act. Reconnect with your Zen. According to Huffington Post, the lack of constant connection could actually help you accept the things you can’t control.
Life isn’t measured in Facebook statuses or Instagram likes but by the genuine human connections we create on a daily basis. Technology could only be hurting our relationships, our self-esteem, and our satisfaction with life in the long run. Do yourself a favor and do a digital detox every so often.