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Simple Ways to Start Digital Detox

By Isny Dewi R

07 September 2020

Someone needs to do a digital detox if they have opened social media too often to interfere with daily activities and themself.

Photo source: Pexels
 

“Staring at our devices may be pleasurable in the moment, but "pleasurable behaviors are addictive," says David Greenfield, PhD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, reported from Health.com.
 
One study from the American Psychological Association found that nearly one-fifth of people say technology is a source of stress. Then there are the potential physical effects of being "always on," from neck pain, wrinkles, to elevated blood pressure.
 
But giving up all your smartphone? It’s just not practical. Experts agree that you don’t have to break up with your phone completely. You just have to do digital detox as an attempt to make yourself calmer and more focused. That said, someone needs to do a digital detox if they have opened social media too often to interfere with daily activities and themself.
 
Reporting Health.com, here's how to do digital detox.
 
1. Turn off Push Notifications
Getting constant updates on what’s happening is informative, but it can also be distracting. "If you’re allowing yourself to get interrupted five times in a half an hour, you’re never actually focused in that time," says Jesse Fox, PhD, head of Ohio State University’s Virtual Environment, Communication Technology, and Online Research (VECTOR) Lab. One easy fix is to turn off as many notifications as you can live without.
 
2. Convert to Black and White
One reason our devices are so alluring is that they’re vibrant. Go retro, recommends Greenfield. Many smartphones now allow you to change the settings so the entire phone appears in gray scale.
 
3. Put Away Your Phone during Meals
It’s a common sight at restaurants: a gleaming smartphone next to the plate. And yet, research shows that, even if we’re not checking our phone, simply having it on the table during a convo can reduce the quality of the interaction. Our brains are just waiting for it to light up, and as a result, we are not fully present. "The more energy we direct toward our devices, the less energy we’re directing toward whoever is in the room with us," explains Elisabeth LaMotte, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center.
 
4. Designate Tech-free Hours
Many of us feel ‘empty’ when we’re without our devices, but taking breaks from technology can do wonders for our well-being. "Start by designating a certain time each day that’s tech-free, like while you’re eating lunch," says Adam Alter, PhD, a professor at NYU and author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. "Then see how you feel after a week or so. Most people feel happy with the change, and they go on to expand it."
 
5. Make Your Bedroom a No-tech Zone
"Most people use their phone for an alarm clock," says Dr. Greenfield. But when you reach for your phone to switch it off, it’s easy to start scrolling through social media. In fact, it’s best if you can leave your phone outside the bedroom at night and invest in an alarm clock. Make your bed a device-free zone. You’ll also sleep better. Screens’ blue light tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, which makes it harder to drift off.
 
6. Read Books and Newspaper
If you’ve ever noticed that reading a book feels more satisfying than reading a tablet, you’re not imagining things. Not only do books offer fewer distractions, but research suggests that when we read on paper, our minds process abstract information more effectively. Additionally, consider getting your news from a newspaper, says Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before.

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