30 Surprising Reasons Why You Need a Digital Detox
What’s inside: 30 reasons for a digital detox and how unplugging can benefit your life
The average cell phone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day and spends nearly 3 hours a day on their device. For the heavier users, it’s double that- 5,427 touches and nearly 4 hours on their device.
We fear missing out, yet when we are glued to our screens, that fear is our reality. We ARE missing out- On conversations around us; memories with our children; connection with our spouse; the nature right beyond our doorstep.
The ties that bind us to technology are strong, and if we are wise, we will begin noting them and taking action. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of technology use, you can benefit from a technology cleanse.
Digital Minimalism– Cal Newport’s guide to choosing a focused life in a noisy world.
How to Break Up With Your Phone– A fun, yet practical guide to ending your dependent relationship with your phone.
It’s time to break our reliance on technology. Here are 30 reasons for a digital detox and the benefits you can experience when you take a break from tech.
30 Reasons You Need a Digital Detox
1. Unplugging helps you analyze your dependence on technology
The first step to breaking any addiction is admitting you have a problem. Spend some time tracking and questioning your technology use. Notice ways that you’ve become dependent on technology or addicted to certain types of media. Information is power.
2. Digital detoxing can help you to reconnect in your relationships
The room is dark. The house is quiet. It’s just the two of you and the soft glow of mood lighting.
Except this scene isn’t about you and your spouse. It’s you. And your phone. And that soft glow? It’s your screen.
A Pew Research Center poll indicated that 25% of cell phone owners in a relationship have felt their partner was distracted by his or her cell phone when they were spending time together. Additionally, 10% have argued about their partner spending excessive time on devices.
It’s time to put your technology down and reconnect with the people that really matter- the ones you share your home with.
3. Take a break from technology and embrace the world around you
According to Jennifer Weniger, Ph.D., a therapist at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, “A digital detox gives our minds and bodies an opportunity to restore their natural rhythms…It can provide you with a genuine opportunity to feel mentally and physically relaxed.”
When we take time to intentionally part from screens, we become acutely aware of all that we have been missing. Use your senses and take an inventory of the world around you. Smell the air after a hard rain. Walk barefoot in the grass. Take time to savor a good cup of coffee. Listen to the symphony of birds outside your window. It’s amazing what we’re missing when we are distracted by technology.
4. A digital detox gives you a challenge
Scientists have found that challenging the brain with new activities helps to build new brain cells and strengthen the connections between them. Your brain craves novelty and a chance to challenge itself.
5. Another reason for a digital detox? To rediscover yourself
Think back to the you that you used to be. What did you enjoy doing before you spent all your free time scrolling mindlessly through Facebook or planning Pinterest projects that you’ll never complete?
Reignite old passions and reconnect with yourself. Create time to read or take a class or start a hobby.
If you don’t think you have the time, I challenge you to go back to step one and take another look at your digital use. Odds are there is something you could give up to carve out time for you.
6. Unplug before bed and get better sleep
According to research from the Harvard Medical School, using devices at bedtime may be the cause of your insomnia. Scientists found that specific wavelengths of light can suppress melatonin, the slumber promoting hormone in the brain. Specifically, the artificial blue light produced by phones and other technological devices can suppress melatonin, leaving us more alert and awake come bedtime.
7. Digital detoxing allows you to take time for yourself
You might think scrolling mindlessly through Twitter or Instagram is taking leisure time for yourself, but it really isn’t providing the break you need.
We tend to think of leisure or downtime as a chance to chill and do nothing (hello, Netflix binging on the couch), but historically, it has been anything but. Ancient Greeks saw leisure as effortful, very distinct from rest. This kind of leisure is active and an activity you do for its own sake.
When we truly engage in this kind of leisure, it requires our total focus and effort. And in that focus, we forget the busyness and demands of our day-to-day lives. We become immersed in our leisure and restored at a foundational level.
8. Take a break from technology and break the digital dependence cycle
One of the biggest reasons for a digital detox is that our tech use is impacting those that matter the most to us. As parents, our kids are always watching us. What we model, they absorb. Are you modeling the kinds of digital habits you want your children to absorb? Are you honoring the boundaries you want them to have when it comes to tech?
If you believe your technology use is negatively impacting your children or home life, it’s time for a detox. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out the Slow Motion Mama digital detox challenge. Spend 30 days being more intentional with technology and see how unplugging can help you regain a healthy balance with tech.
9. To be present & live a life of intention
This is one of the biggest reasons for a digital detox in my personal life. There’s so much we miss when we aren’t fully present. When we choose to take our eyes off the screen, we open them up to all the blessings around us. If technology use is keeping you from living a life of intention, it’s time for a digital detox.
For more inspiration, check out this post on 5 Steps to Reducing Distraction in Your Life.
10. Take a break from technology and improve your brain
According to the Public Library of Science, screen time is actually degrading the quality of our brains. Individuals who engage in heavier media-multitasking were found to perform worse on cognitive control tasks and exhibit more socio-emotional difficulties.
Additionally, research confirmed that these individuals actually had less grey matter in the brain (it’s the matter that’s involved with hearing and seeing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control). Yikes!
11. Another reason for a digital detox is to reduce the effects of depression
Multiple studies have confirmed links between heavy internet use and depression. Research published in Depression and Anxiety found increased chances of depression with social media use (especially in teenagers).
Researchers at the University of Missouri found that the motivation behind how users interacted with social media (specifically Facebook) could trigger feelings of depression. According to Margaret Duffy, a professor and chair of strategic communication at the MU School of Journalism, “If Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship–things that cause envy among users–use of the site can lead to feelings of depression.”
While current research hasn’t confirmed causation (is the internet making these users depressed or do depressed people use the internet more), reducing social media and technology use has been connected with increased happiness.
12. Take a break from technology and remember how to actually relax
Think back to the days before the internet (if you’re old enough to even remember that being a thing). What did you do to relax? What things did you enjoy? Find some low tech options to do in your free time and teach your kids what digital-free life was like (without all that walking to school uphill, both ways, in a blizzard talk).
13. Use a tech cleanse to improve your physical health
Reducing technology use comes with a slew of health benefits, including better posture, improved circulation and heart health, and fewer vision problems. Plus, time off devices means more time for movement- going for a walk, working out, or playing with your kids in the yard.
14. A technology cleanse can reduce anxiety
A great reason for a digital detox is that it can reduce anxiety. Smartphone usage has been linked to social anxiety. In a research study by Kent State University, researchers found that mobile phone usage in college-age individuals negatively impacted their GPA while increasing the incidence of anxiety.
15. A better work-life balance can often be struck as a benefit of a digital detox
With constant access to work-related tasks and communications at our fingertips, it is becoming easier and easier to blur the lines between work and home. A digital detox provides space to reestablish your technological priorities. It enables you to set boundaries and strike a healthy balance when it comes to tech in your home.
16. A digital cleanse allows time for self-reflection
Stop analyzing your life through the filter of social media. Stop worrying about what others are doing or how you are measuring up. The opinions of others do not speak to your identity, and who you are cannot be found there. When you remove the pressure to be like everyone else, you give yourself space to reflect and figure out who you really are.
17. Unplugging helps you to set healthy boundaries and stick to them
Whether you are using too much technology, wanting to cut down on a bad digital habit, or you’re looking to limit the amount of work you do for free each evening, a digital detox provides the space to analyze your current tech habits and boundaries. Identify places where you might need to shore up your tech-free walls.
18. Unplugging can help improve your relationship with food
The overuse of social media has been connected with eating disorders, increased body consciousness, and anxiety according to the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
19. A digital detox can help you slow things down
Remember the old Country Time Lemonade commercials? That’s what I think of when I think of slowing things down. Unplugging wasn’t even a thing back then- unless you were on the phone, which was attached to the wall by a cord ;0)
A digital detox can help you take a step back in time, to reestablish your priorities and slow down the pace of your day-to-day life.
The hectic pace of this life shows no signs of stopping. If you want time to slow down, it’s going to require intentionally applying the brakes.
20. Reduce stress through a tech cleanse
Technology is ever evolving. There’s an underlying fear that if you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind. Left out. Excluded. Uninvited. And since humans thrive on interaction and connection, this FOMO (fear of missing out) causes serious stress.
21. To develop the skill of conversation
If the old saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” is true, then we are in trouble. As technology use has increased, our engagement in face-to-face conversations has decreased. Just go to a restaurant and observe how many people are enjoying dinner “together” by scrolling through their phones. Technology has replaced talking, and our communication skills are suffering.
22. Another reason for a digital detox? To ponder the questions that Google can’t answer
Stepping away from technology gives you an opportunity to think deeply and analyze your life. Carve out time for wonderings. Spend time contemplating things that cannot be googled.
23. Take a break and recreate your schedule
So often we live our days on repeat. We are creatures of habit, always running but rarely thinking about our direction.
During the Slow Motion Mama 30-Day Digital Detox, you’ll spend time reviewing your daily schedule. You’ll analyze when you are most prone to overuse technology in your day and you’ll identify the reason behind it. Once you have this information, you’ll be able to determine a more meaningful replacement and add it to your calendar.
24. Digital detoxing can help you accomplish your goals
While technology can be a great tool for helping you be more productive, it can also be a huge distraction that leads to wasting time. By cutting back your technology use, you free up time and energy to pursue your biggest passions. And with this newfound focus, you can improve your odds of actually accomplishing your goals.
25. A tech cleanse can boost your creativity
According to research out of the University of Southern California, our brains have a “default mode”, space where the mind is free to wander and be internally-focused (for instance, when you are laying in bed or taking a shower). However, this default mode becomes suppressed when attention shifts to focus on the outside world.
If you want to get creative, you need to create the space for going into “default mode” during your day. It’s not going to happen if you’re perusing the news, scrolling through Pinterest, or wasting time scanning Instagram.
26. Take a break from technology to increase productivity
The constant presence of communication tools at our fingertips wrecks havoc on our productivity. Research shows most workers can’t go 6 minutes without checking email or IM. This constant need to communicate and be connected greatly diminishes our ability to get things done.
While there are times you might have to use communication tools and technology to do your job, consider batching that communication into certain times of the day and silencing out notifications during work blocks to increase productivity.
Looking for more information on productivity? Check out Mental Break: How Shutting Down Can Improve Productivity
27. Unplug from electronics and form some memories
Don’t be so distracted by technology that you forget things or let moments pass you by. Leave your phone behind the next time you take your kids out to play. Turn your devices off during dinner with the family. Find games or other activities to do together instead of burying your faces in screens.
28. Experience real life. Don’t live for social media.
Plan experiences because you are into them or because they will add value to your life. Then go out, live them, and resist the urge to post about it on social media. Can you do it?
This is just one of the many daily challenges you’ll find in our Digital Detox Challenge!
29. Use a digital detox to find a balance that works for you
One of the biggest reasons for a digital detox is to regain balance. By stripping away the layers of your technology use, you can identify where you need to curb usage or cut back altogether.
Use this time to craft a plan that works for you, right where you are. Know that you can adjust the plan as you progress toward your goals of limiting the influence of tech in your life.
30. The biggest benefit of unplugging? FREEDOM!
Humans weren’t designed to be plugged in. We were made to explore. To experience. To love. To live a life of passion and purpose. There’s a great big world out there. Don’t miss out on all there is to see and do because you are tethered to the power of technology.
Experience the benefits of unplugging
It’s time to disconnect to reconnect. To put down your phone, walk away from the cacophony of alerts, alarms, and notifications, and reconnect with the sights and sounds of the world around you. Carve out space to think creatively and love deeply. It’s time to fully embrace the richness of this life.
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