Take a look around and it’s likely you will see at least one person staring at their smartphone. Many of us live our lives through our devices, but this comes at the cost of feeling exhausted, anxious and spaced out.
Trying a digital detox might sound scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Done right, it can even be life-changing.
First, let’s explore why we’re addicted to our smartphones. One of the main reasons is that our devices give us a reliable dopamine hit whenever we check them, thanks to our human need for socialisation and new information. Our brains remember that this makes us feel good, so we check it over and over again.
This can have negative consequences, of course, such as the ‘fear of missing out’, anxiety, stress, fatigue and feelings of loneliness.
The benefits of using your phone less include feeling more relaxed and present, having more energy and being more productive.
So how do you break the habit?
One of the keys is to avoid using your smartphone to fill in the ‘gaps’ in your life – like waiting for your coffee, or whilst stopped at a traffic light. Use these moments as opportunities to be present to your surroundings – take a deep breath and really look around.
Another way to do this is to create ‘phone-free spaces’ – spaces where you do not bring your phone. This could be your bed (to help you focus on sleeping) or your garden.
Taking one day off where you don’t use your smartphone can also help you to assess just how much you are currently relying on it.
Our minds are constantly in overdrive, and for the sake of our mental health, we need to let ourselves be empty once in a while.