We live in a digital world and most of our lives transpire online. Whether it’s sharing our family vacation on social media, being glued to our laptops for back-to-back meetings, checking our daily calorie output on our smart-watches or binge-watching The Office, the digital world practically runs our life. Most of us get addicted to our devices and find it hard to stay away from them. This addiction can lead to serious mental and physical health issues like social anxiety, anti-social behaviour, retinal damage, neck sprains and more. While this addiction may not hold true for everyone, it does for most. To know more about it, we got in touch with Dr. Anamika Chawhan, Cognitive Scientist & Life Skills and Business Coach. Here are some signs you need to stay away from your screens and do a digital detox.
Technology can be like quicksand, sticky and challenging to escape.
, says Dr Chawhan on being addicted to it. We all get hooked under the guise of “one last video”, “one last scroll” and “one minute more”, and before we know it, it’s 3 AM and we’re hearing strange sounds in our room. Having a screen-time of over 3 hours daily is bad enough, but most of us are in the 6-hour club. That’s an average of 91 days a year spent online. If you’re screen-time is amounting to this, you desperately need a digital detox.
Dr. Chawhan says,
When I eat a bag of chips, I immediately feel the salt on my tongue, which soon tastes like plain oil. It feels good at first, then greasy after and I feel guilty after eating them. Technology use has a similar reward-regret curve. Each site and article provides a little nugget of instant gratification, but after seeing too many of them, one is inclined to regret this use of their time.
If you feel guilty after a long-drawn digital binge, you need a digital detox. No body likes that “morning-after” feeling, and we can work towards never ever feeling it again. As it is, social media makes us feel bad about ourselves anyway (thank god for filters, photoshop and “perfect” bodies, right?), why add to it?
Dr. Chawhan says that most online addiction stems from FOMO. We are scared to miss out on a latest post, story, article or video. Despite knowing it will be there the next day, we feel an immediate urge to check it that very moment. She says that everyone has to realise that they’ll always be missing out on something or the other and that is okay! However, if you find yourself motivated by this fear of missing out, you may have an issue.
Dr. Chawhan says,
From ‘phantom vibrations’ to wondering whether the screen just flashed on, the motivation to check our phones is one of the strongest adaptations of our digital addiction.
It’s like constantly checking your phone, waiting on a text from your crush. These urges serve as constant interruptions and can deter us from important work at hand. Researchers have found these interruptions lead to major delays in the completion of meaningful projects. On average, these constant “phone checks” can distract people and they can take nearly 23 minutes to get back on track after. If you’re one to keep checking your phone despite zero notifications, you may need a digital detox.
It’s not uncommon to feel incredibly busy. This busyness and stress is real, but if you were to reduce smartphone usage, would it help you feel more calm and available for what matters?
, says Dr. Chawhan, who believes that if we cut down our gadget-usage, we would have more spare time in the day to dedicate to things that really matter. 3 hours spent scrolling Instagram could have been used taking up a new hobby, cleaning up some dusty corners of your house or even taking a nap! This extra free time can be used so well and in an healthy manner. However, if you’re scrambling for time and stressing out over it, a digital detox may be exactly what you need!
Find out how to carry out a digital detox here!
Have you ever tried a digital detox? Share your experience in the comments below!