Whether it’s reviewing documents for work, reconnecting with friends and family, or simply keeping yourself entertained, there’s no doubt that gadgets are a big part of our lives. But, with the negative effects of spending too much time in front of a screen, it may be a good idea to take regular breaks. What are the most promising “digital detox” health benefits?
The Problem with Internet Addiction
“Internet addiction” is not an actual medical diagnosis, but for some people, it’s real.
Not only does it cause physical symptoms, like dry eyes, “cyber shakes”, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches, it can also result in grave consequences such as job loss, divorce, and indebtedness.
In one paper titled, How Internet Addiction Is Affecting Lives, the researchers outlined the following negative impacts of letting the internet take over the people’s lives.
- It harms personal relationships. Due to activities connected to online infidelity such as cybersex, internet addiction can even lead to divorce.
- Risk of sexually transmitted infections. The paper also indicated that people who seek sexual partners online have a higher risk of contracting STIs.
- Cybersexual addiction. Other studies revealed that 15% of internet users or approximately 9 million people visited one of the top adult websites in a one-month period.
- Need for psychological or medical treatment. As a consequence of the physical and psychological symptoms, some people need to skip school or work to seek medical help.
Due to these potential harms, many people are calling for “digital detox”.
Digital detox is a period when a person takes a break from using electronic devices. Aside from the possibility that digital detox can prevent the occurrence of the negative impacts of internet addiction, it also brings a lot of health benefits.
7 Health Benefits of a Digital Detox
It Encourages Mindfulness
Mary Gomes, a psychology professor at Sonoma State University, said that she assigned a four-day “media fast” in her classes.
During their media fasting, the students were encouraged to stop their habit of constantly checking their gadgets for text and email notifications.
Professor Gomes said she knew that it will be difficult. After all, a 2015 study revealed that the majority of Americans frequently have their phones with them and they rarely turn them off.
When the students shared their experience, they associated the fasting to things like mindfulness, present-moment awareness, and immersion. The students also added that these benefits kicked in just 2 days after starting the digital detox.
It Improves Focus and Productivity
Do you remember the times when you turn on your laptop with a promise of doing several things at a time so that you can finish faster? Well, many people try to do the same thing, but most of the time, they fail.
This is because “multitasking” is a myth.
What really happens is people just “switch” in-between tasks. This means they jump from one task to the next one without finishing the previous activity. In the end, they’ll need a longer time to accomplish their goals.
A digital detox can help you avoid distractions, concentrate on the task at hand, get it done, and then move on to the next task.
It Helps You Reconnect to Your Friends and Loved Ones
How do you feel when someone you’re talking to is fiddling with his or her phone?
Various studies revealed that the mere presence of the phone often creates a feeling of being “less connected and listened to”.
One of the digital detox health benefits is it allows you to reconnect with your friends and family.
It Leads to Better Sleep
Some people make it a habit to browse through their social media accounts before going to bed. Mostly, they do this to relax and “find sleep”.
However, experts emphasize that blue light or the light coming from our gadget screens can powerfully suppress the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is an important hormone that promotes sleep.
Studies even revealed that blue light can shift our circadian rhythm by up to 3 hours. Circadian rhythm is like an internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.
It Reduces Stress
Believe it or not, but one of the health benefits of digital detox is it can reduce your level of stress.
One study revealed that about 18 % of adults in the USA reported that the use of technology is one of their significant sources of stress.
For many people, it’s because they feel like their work is “never done”. This feeling is largely because of the constant influx of emails, texts, and other notifications, even when it’s no longer their working hours.
It Improves Physical Health
One of the digital detox health benefits is the improvement of our physical health.
Taking some time away from the screens can reduce the strain your eyes, neck, back, and hands endure from constant phone and laptop use.
Additionally, digital detox can give you more time to do simple exercises such as walking, running, or dancing.
It’s Good for Your Mental Health
Sometimes, excessive social media use can result in various negative feelings such as envy, loneliness, jealousy, depression, and dissatisfaction.
Having a technology break prevents these emotions from growing because it’ll lessen the time you spend on seeing what the others are doing.
Moreover, digital detox encourages you to feel grateful by allowing you to focus on yourself and your accomplishments.
Tips on How to Have an Effective Digital Detox without Feeling Technology-deprived
Are you thinking of having a technology break? If so, these tips might help:
- Stay realistic. Since the internet serves a lot of purposes in our lives, it may be impossible to completely live without it.
- Know which online activities are necessary and which ones you can cut back on or live totally without.
- Set no-technology hours. It might help you to have a no-gadget policy on certain times of day, such as bedtime, mealtimes, or time for meditation.
- Set a schedule for checking social media notifications or updates.
- If you have set schedules, don’t forget to talk to your colleagues, friends, or family about it. Give them another way to contact you in case of an emergency.
- Create a “technology-free” zone at home.
- Go out of the house from time to time and find other interesting activities or hobbies.
- Consider journaling to monitor your progress.
To obtain digital detox health benefits, remember that there are many ways to have a technology break.
You can detox once a week, month, or year – whatever works for you. Moreover, you can choose to delete certain social media accounts or refrain from using it for a period at a time.
Learn more about Healthy Mind here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.