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Start Your Digital Detox Now With These 4 Tips

From FOMO-inspired depression and text-neck headaches to narcissism and the melatonin-zapping blue light in our screens, tech can, unfortunately, take its toll. Here's some actionable advice you can use today to cut mental drain and boost well-being.

Digital detoxing in Paris
One of my recent digital detoxes in Paris.

It might sound crazy — since I run a social media agency — but I truly believe that doing a digital detox every now and then is a great way to decompress from today’s always connected lifestyle.

And, as I say, reduce the media drain on your brain.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love technology. Tech is my world. But, like anything else, overdoing it can have some negative effects.

THE RESEARCH

From FOMO-inspired depression and text-neck headaches to narcissism and the melatonin-zapping blue light in our screens, tech can, unfortunately, take its toll.

Researchers at the University of Derby studied the habits of 256 smartphone users and found that many of the participants were addicted to tech ~ with the average users spending 3.6 hours per day on their devices.

“The results revealed that 13.3% of the sample was classified as addicted to smartphones. Higher narcissism scores and neuroticism levels were linked to addiction. Three themes of; social relations, smartphone dependence and self-serving personalities emerged from the qualitative data. Interpretation of qualitative data supports addiction specificity of the smartphone. It is suggested smartphones encourage narcissism, even in non-narcissistic users.”

The researchers concluded that smartphones often caused severe distraction from relationships and “real life” with social networking apps and websites being the most popularly used apps (87%), followed by messaging apps (52%) and news apps (51%).

And, many people agree that tech can be a problem. In fact, in 2017, Bank of America found that 46% of adults are in favor of digital detoxification.

Just in case you are one of those folks, here are some detoxification tips that have drastically helped to increase my overall well-being. …

SOCIAL DETOXING TIPS

Since I am immersed in social media all day long, two things that have been helpful for me (on a daily basis) are:

– Setting my iPhone’s “bedtime” (in the Clock) to 7 p.m. so all alerts/calls snooze at that time.

– Scheduling “Downtime” on my iPhone from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., which limits app and phone call availability (Settings -> Screen Time -> Downtime).

NEWS DETOXIFICATION TIPS

I should probably note that I don’t watch a lot of cable TV — and this also helps me to detox my brain from media drain.

This started about 10 years ago at the suggestion of Dr. Weil when I was working to help launch Revolution Health, which is now a part of Everyday Health. He said try just one day a week without news. (I used to work in the news industry so I was a super huge news addict.) But now, 10 years later, I limit my news to my own curated Twitter listand I limit my TV news intake to “as-needed” (if there’s something client-related or breaking news happening).

I haven’t completely cut the virtual cord, but, as a general rule, when I feel like watching something, I like to stick to happy Netflix shows and flicks.

So, what do you think? Are you ready for your own digital detox? Have you already tried a digital detox? If so, what happened? 

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