Over the years, I have suffered with various mental health issues including depression and anxiety, and on many occasions, this has led me to search for new (and often unorthadox) ways of overcoming my issues and improving my quality of life. Through doing so, I have learned to be more open minded and try new things.
An example of this is a few years ago, when my mother first introduced me to self-help books and self-hypnosis CD’s, which included the amazing work created by Glenn Harrold, Joseph Clough and Paul McKenna.
Although the people around me I am closest to noticed a HUGE positive difference in me, I was met with a fair amount of resistance when I mentioned the word ‘hypnosis’ (even though they could see the obvious changes it had made in my life).
In fact, I was using meditation years ago on a regular basis, but when I mentioned it to people, they thought I was weird, and now years later, EVERYBODY is doing it, which I find slightly humerous, as I’ve been encouraging my friends to try it all along, but they kept saying ‘no…’
And still, I find the same pattern of narrow-mindedness, denial and fear of change when it comes to modern day discoveries, even if people are at a crisis point in their lives and need to help themselves.
We are all guilty of this to some degree, but I believe that people can get so used to the way they live their lives, that the idea of change seems outrageous. It’s only when an idea becomes largely publically approved and people notice that their friends are doing it, that they feel left out, so they decide to give it a go themselves.
Just look at how popular smoking once was. It was the cool thing to do. Even Marilyn Monroe and James Bond smoked! But nowadays, if you walk outside to the smoking area in a bar, you’ll realise that you’re alone. There’s no one there. Why? Because everybody has quit.
In fact, smoking just isn’t cool any more. Times change, and the same goes with the modern day gym, vegan and nutrition (or ‘wellness’) trends (and they are trends, I assure you). However, once upon a time, those ideas would have seemed ridiculous, but now they’re the ‘norm.’
Moving back on to my own experience, this time last year, I felt immensely unhappy and my anxiety levels were at an all-time high, but I just couldn’t work out what the problem was, and then I had a nervous breakdown in December 2015, which still didn’t wake me up to what was going on.
It was only when I read Arianna Huffington’s ‘Thrive’ in March 2015, that it all made sense.
I knew I was showing signs of workaholism, burnout and digital overload through spending too much time on my digital devices, and over-working (with no cut-off time), but the idea of ‘digital detoxing’ seemed like a load of cobble to me, because not many people were doing it, or talking about it.
(Here we go again).
But I can honestly say that the biggest single change I have made in more recent months is uninstalling every app off my phone (apart from a couple), and creating militant digital shut off times (for example, I’ll read in the evening instead of sitting on Facebook). I recently deleted my Instagram and Twitter account because I just don’t use them any more, and I feel happier without them.
As I walk around, I feel sorry for people, because they’ve got their heads stuck inside their phones and life is passing them by, but they just can’t see what it’s doing to them. However, I also feel happy knowing that I don’t have to deal with that situation any more, and I feel a lot better because of it.
Digital detoxing has become a regular part of my life, but when I tell people about it, I’m usually met with ‘there’s no scientic evidence!’ And so on. But I know that one day there will be, and then things will be different for everybody else, too.
But right now, people think I’m crazy, just like when I mentioned the words ‘hypnosis’ or ‘meditation’ all those years ago.
More and more people are practicing digital detoxing and deleting their apps and their social media accounts because they’re depressed, anxious, burnt out, and they know there is more to life than staring at a screen all day.
So when does digital detoxing become a ‘thing?’
My view is that when new discoveries comes along, people don’t always know how to react, or how to control/manage these new areas of their lives, nor are they aware of what effects these behaviours will have on their lives in years to come (a bit like when smoking, TV and alcohol first become mainstream, but now we know).
But through years scientific research (it’s coming!), discovery and witnessing how these technologies effect them, they’ll wake up and learn new ways to take control. And if they don’t, then it’s their children or grand children that will (we’ve seen this happen already as millenials don’t tend to smoke or drink).
I am confident that over the next few years as we see more catastrophies relating to overworking and the over-use of digital media, and as new scientific discoveries become available, that the next generation (after millenials) will learn from the environments that they grew up in, and in my opinion, will either rebel against it, or they’ll instinctively know how to control it and see if for what it really is.
Does your digital life control you, or do you control it? And what is your ratio of a non-digital life versus a digital life? I’ll leave you to decide. But if in your heart, you know you’re spending too much time checking work emails in the evening, maybe it’s time to take control.
Originally published at medium.com