Human technology has come a long way since the end of the 20th century. Advances in digital communication have made conversing with someone in a different continent possible with just the push of a button.
We now have unlimited access to vast amounts of information, all delivered at lightning speeds. With this much power at our disposal, is it all that surprising that we’ve become tethered to our tech?
It’s a Scary Digital World
There’s no denying the instance of online addiction: whether it’s scrolling through your social media feed, skimming through videos or trawling through internet forums. The nature of the beast means that most of the afflicted are unaware of their condition.
It might seem strange that something so ubiquitous with modern society can have such a strong hold over our lives. Yet, it’s nothing that simple human biology can’t explain.
The Science Bit
Most of these activities are conducted within our own personal leisure time. Such pleasurable pursuits trigger a release of dopamine in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for making things feel enjoyable.
The thing is, we go online so frequently that the effects of the dopamine spike becomes diminished – much like a drug addict builds up a tolerance to drugs over time.
As we become numb to the original sensations of dopamine, we often escalate matters in an attempt to recapture them. This is why it’s so common to see digital addicts descend further and further into their habits.
Taking a Few Steps Back
But it’s not as if we can all go off the grid and revert back to our pre-digital state. The fact is that technology has become a truly indispensable part of our lives.
Rather than abstain from it altogether, the key lies in striking a balance. So here are six tricks to help with your digital detox:
1. Utilise time windows
Remember intermittent fasting? The same concept can be applied to digital device usage as well. Set a time window that doesn’t have you looking at a screen the moment of waking or right before bed. Alternatively, you can allot yourself small breaks of recreational device usage with a couple of hours placed in between.
2. Practice the “reward” system
Positive reinforcement has been shown to be effective at both promoting new habits and breaking down old ones. The idea of treating yourself when you’ve been good isn’t exactly a novel concept, but many tend to go overboard when it comes to rewards. Keep it on the conservative side as opposed to spending an hour on the screen for every 15 minutes of work done.
3. (Re)discover a non-digital hobby
A healthy distraction may be all you need to tear yourself away from tapping away at a screen incessantly. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, or a hobby you’ve long since forgotten? Strapping on your old pair of in-line skates and heading out for a spin might sound a bit scary, but it’s surely better than staying glued to your phone.
4. Take a screen-free holiday
There are some holiday packages that make it a point to have you check-in your mobile devices into a secure location at the start of your vacation. Such retreats are typically geared towards complete mental and physical rejuvenation, and would allow you to see how an absence of technology can benefit yourself. If you’re more of a DIY-er, you can always leave your phone/tablet in the hotel safe before heading out!
5. Use peer pressure to your advantage
Telling others what you have planned for yourself might seem a bit vain, but it’s actually a pretty effective tactic for keeping yourself accountable. Assuming that these people are the ones you spend most of your time with, informing them of your intentions will create within you the perception of them constantly watching you. It might not be true at all, but the possibility
of it being so will make you less likely to trip up.
6. One device at a time
Digital convenience and multi-tasking seem to go together hand in hand. Realistically speaking, it’s near impossible to do multiple things efficiently when they’re being done simultaneously. Personally, the whole notion of having your smartphone on while watching television never made sense to me – you only have one set of eyes and one brain after all. If you’re going to spend time on a device, keep it to one at a time so that you’ll be able to do what needs doing in as little time and with as little distraction as possible.
Keeping it real
Spending the bulk of your time in front a screen comes at the expense of losing your connection with the physical world.
While there are certainly enjoyable moments to be had with technology, there’s nothing wrong with taking a long overdue break. After all, there’s more to the world around you than what you get from a screen!
To discuss digital health in more detail, get in touch with the WellteQ team today.