I am blessed and grateful to have stumbled across the concept of ‘digital detoxing’ just over a year ago. I knew something was making me unhappy, but I just didn’t know what.
That deep sense of stress, anxiety and unhappiness was hard to pinpoint exactly, but through a mere blessing in disguise, I was pulled away from my digital devices for a few days, and suddenly, it all made sense.
After trying digital detoxing for the first time, it quickly became apparent that this was going to become an important factor in my life, so I rapidly uninstalled every app off of my smart phone (shock, horror!) and started to shut-off the internet as soon as I got home from work.
But slowly, I slipped back into my old habits again.
It was only recently (during London Fashion Week), that I was SO busy going to meetings, checking out venues, seeing friends and socialising at events on the fashion calender, that I had no other alternative than to shove my phone in my racksack, and I hardly even checked it throughout the whole two days I was in London (again, shock, horror!).
Yet something magic happened.
I felt connected, present, self-aware, happy, confident and fulfilled. In fact, I felt a part of something. Like a human being once again, not a self-created robot or digital slave (I know you feel like that sometimes, too. Don’t fool yourself).
Of course, I took a couple of photos on my iPhone (it’s fashion week — come on!), but it quickly went back into my rucksack as I was more interested in socialising with interesting people and enjoying this once in a lifetime opportunity.
And looking back, now I realise that the reason this event was so special to me, was because I was ‘present’ in the moment — something which our digital devices block out and act as a type of ‘barrier’ or brick wall to.
That feeling inside of me was an old, familiar feeling that reminded me of how I used to feel many years ago before ‘digital’ became such a big part of our lives.
It reminded me of the good old days of being a young student again in my early twenties, surrounded by great, likeminded people and being fully connected to the present world and soaking up the magical experience, and those memories are full of such richness, thatI have longed to have them again. And now I can, because I know what’s changed.
It was the digital smokescreen that got in my way. In our way. In your way.
And in a fast-moving world where people are so wrapped up in their fake, artificial digital lives, they’re all searching for something — not realising that the solution is the complete opposite. In becoming more connected, we became more disconnected with out even realising it.
When I compare my brain health, self-awareness and happiness levels now, to a few years ago, I realise that things were much better than they used to be. But as soon as I shut down those horrid digital devices for a few days, it all starts to come back, so now I know that I have a choice. And that choice is beautiful, so I hope you’ll come to discover this too.
So my question to you, the reader, and to society in general, is this:
Do you think that your digital life has improved or worsened your sense of identity and mental health/quality of life? And would you be willing to try digital detoxing to see how you feel, at least?
I feel dearly sorry for these digital natives who are being born into a digital world through peer pressure and societal-expectations that they just don’t know what richness lies beneath all of this digital mayhem, but I feel grateful knowing that I DO know, and that I have a choice.
And I feel even more sorry for the people who know the difference, yet continue to fool themselves that having their head stuck inside their smart phone all day is a good use of their short time on this planet.
I just hope more people will enter on this path to digital recovery and experience the riches that come with it. That time is now.
Originally published at medium.com