The irony that I’m writing about the benefits of a digital detox on my laptop while my smart phone is constantly going off with email alerts, messaging notifications, and God knows what else isn’t lost on me at all, no siree.
Still, it certainly doesn’t stop me from agreeing with the notion that most of us could probably use some time away from our omnipresent gadgets. Don’t get me wrong, I love that we’re living in an age of unprecedented convenience. These days, just about everything from your Korean holy grail serum to real-time courier services is a few keystrokes away.
The trade-off, however, is that we are increasingly enslaved by our glowing screens. We sit down to a meal with friends and family, only for them to take out their phones just to document how much fun everyone appears to be having (rather than actually just having fun). Some of us sleep with our devices nearby, in case our bosses or clients might message us at 3 in the morning for some reason. Worst of all, we seem to have lost our ability to communicate in person, with 70% of today’s youth preferring to text rather than talk to each other.
Breaking your addiction to your smartphone is quite simple, but it does take quite a bit of discipline and the occasional complete break from handheld technology. Now, why would anyone cut themselves off from the world momentarily? Read on to learn more about the benefits of digital detoxing, and you just might find yourself considering it:
1. Enhanced Memory.
One side effect of so many technological distractions is that our brain has gotten used to bypassing details it might deem insignificant, such as the name of someone’s cat or the way they take their coffee.
These so-called minor details are quite crucial to forming a meaningful bond with other people. Forcing your mind to become more present in the moment (i.e., rather than mindlessly scrolling through your IG or FB feed at dinner) makes the processing and storing of new information a lot easier.
So, if there’s someone special you want to impress, the best thing you can do is stow your phone away while talking to them. That way, you’ll be able to see their eyes light up when you bring them their favorite drink as a surprise, simply because you were paying enough attention.
2. Improved Conversations.
When was the last time you actually sat down and just talked to someone without reaching for your phone?
Sure, showing someone a funny video on Youtube can get the ball rolling, but it also gets in the way of creative storytelling. Without the aid of certain social media applications, people are forced to really dig deep when coming up with conversational topics, and you’ll get a better sense of how someone’s mind works in this set-up. Plus, there’s no telling how many inside jokes you and your companions come up with when you try to figure out how something works instead of just looking it up on Google or something.
3. Better Posture.
Ever heard of “text neck?” It’s a term that chiropractors use to describe what happens when your head is bent at an unnatural angle while looking down at your phone all day. It doesn’t happen overnight, thankfully, but it can creep up on you if you aren’t careful.
Not having a phone or a tablet in your hand prevents you from slumping and opens up the front of your body, allowing the back of your head to realign with your spine and pushing back your shoulders.
As a bonus, this kind of posture also makes for more welcoming body language, thus paving the way for the benefit listed in the previous item.
4. Deeper Connections.
Being able to look people in the eye while talking to them encourages genuine listening. The absence of technological distractions also facilitates a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing people to be more empathetic towards each other.
5. Restful Sleep.
The blue light emitted by our LCD screens can suppress our body’s circadian rhythm, which basically determines when we go to sleep. On top of that, it suppresses our melanin production, causing us to be more alert when we should be powering down for the night.
Resisting the urge to check your phone or better yet, storing your gadgets in a different room, can thus result in high-quality rest.
6. Renewed Perspectives.
Perhaps the best benefit that comes with the absence of constant distractions is that it frees up your mind to contemplate more important issues.
Going off the grid for a while can empower you to make significant, much-needed changes to your career or relationships, and the same willpower you’ll be utilizing to refrain from tinkering your devices also comes in handy when it comes to sustaining the sort of work needed to bring these about.
Technology has inextricably become a part of our lives. Anyone who works remotely will attest to that; barring smoke signals and messenger pigeons, it would be damn near impossible to do our jobs without mobile devices and the Internet.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t extricate ourselves from it from time to time, however. Connectivity is great for what we do and all, but it all becomes meaningless when we neglect the more meaningful connections in our lives.