Remember when back in 2016 suddenly a hash tag “FOMO” went viral and almost every post on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat had it? You could see it everywhere. Even in the most basic of uploads like pictures of dogs or food stories or updates about buying new clothes. Truly, the “Fear of missing out” (FOMO) is what governs the life of most of us nowadays. I mean, how can you watch a concert or go to a vacation or get a haircut or even eat an ice-cream without telling the world about it through a million stories?
We’re glued to our phones, tablets and laptops. Life without a screen is unimaginable. We’re all about cleansing our bodies because of the junk that goes into them all day but what about the mind? Doesn’t the mind require a detox too? A digital detox maybe? And from what you ask me? From the screens you’ve surrounded yourself, from the screens without which you think you won’t last a day.
As the Oxford Dictionary says, “Digital Detox is a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.” According to a study by CNN, an average human spends nearly 6-8 hours a day in front of the screen. Also, a number of studies suggest a direct correlation between stress and the time spent in front of screens instead of socializing.
Why do we need digital detox?
We’re so consumed by everything happening around us that we’ve developed this constant need to know everything every time which makes it impossible for us to stay away from one screen or the other. Another aspect of it is the gratification received by being acknowledged on social networking sites and how it ruins our day if we don’t get enough “views” or “likes.” According to a paper published by JMIR Mental Health which revolved around social networking sites (SNSs) and their impact on mental health and modern culture, “negative interaction and social comparisons on SNSs were related to higher levels of depression and anxiety.”
In order to break through the shackles of the harmful effects of excessive time being spent in front of our laptops, computers or phones and giving our minds a break from it all, digital detox is necessary.
How do we detox ourselves from the technology that entraps almost every part of our daily lives?
As daunting a task as it may seem to let go of all your techy stuff, the answer to this can be given in the form of 4 easy questions – why, when, where, and for how long?
The “why” has been explained above.
Then comes the “when”, digital detox can be done anytime you’re comfortable doing it. You needn’t stress much about it or make elaborate plans for the same. Studies suggest that even a day off at times can do wonders. Also, if you do it together in a group instead of doing it alone, the chances of failure reduce up to quite an extent because of the kind of people you’re surrounding yourself with and because of the nature of a combined goal.
“Where” can be anywhere. You needn’t plan a full holiday for it. It can be a day’s picnic or a hike or a long drive to the hills as well. Although, there are technology-free retreats that function around the same idea but if you’re resolute enough, you can do it on your own anywhere without having to spend a fortune on it.
Now comes the most crucial part, “for how long?” This can be tricky, studies suggest that you start with a day or so and then keep on extending the time period as per your comfort level. If you decide to straightaway go for it for a longer duration in the first go, chances of failure increase exponentially.
For all of us who’re glued to our screens 24/7, initially it might seem like an intimidating task because of the sheer magnitude by which our lives our not just influenced but also dependent on technology, it’s very doable. Take my word for it. Do it. Once. Give it a try and trust me, your mind will thank you for this change.