From smartphones to sat-navs, our lives are full of screens. We wake up, work, go back home and we take them with us all day in our pocket so we shouldn’t be surprised that experts are warning us that this constant exposure to electronic devices could negatively impact our health.
Let’s briefly see what are the numbers related to the addiction to the Internet
• The average person checks his phone 200 times a day, that means, once every six minutes and a
• One out of four people spends more time online than sleeping
• The 70% of youngsters between 16 and 24 years old admit that they prefer messaging than talking
• The average teenager sends 3400 messages a month
But how can we start a “digital detox“?
Let’s see some ideas..
1. Write a list of your devices
“Before committing to a detox, try to create two lists”, suggests Dr. Sally-Ann Law, psychologist and personal life coach. “Firstly, make a list of all your electronic devices that will show you how addicted you are to technology. Then, make a list of all the things you love doing in life but that you are not doing right now”.
Making a list will show you how dependent you are from technology. “This will help you understand that, if you reduce the use of technology, you get back hours to do things that you find more interesting than checking Facebook”. Some figures show that every year we spend the equivalent of three weeks on social media and checking emails.
2. Do not set impossible goals
To completely break the addiction it’s suggested to decide first the minimum limits of usage for each day during daily activities: during physical exercise, lunch break, or when you’re doing shopping. If you slowly eliminate technology from your daily activities, your “digital detox” will be easier to follow.
3. Commit to change a habit at a time
Do not try to give up your tablet, laptop and smartphone all at once. Choose a technological habit to change at a time; for example remove all devices during lunch/dinner, or from the bedroom, or check the emails only every two hours. Whichever habit you choose, it’s advised to repeat it for at least a week until it becomes a consolidated habit. Once the goal is reached, then you can start changing another habit; by continuing this way you will progressively eliminate all the habits deriving from your “technological addiction”.
4. Test the “digital detox” during your activities
During this “digital detox” path, focus on your usual recreational activities such as visiting a museum, going an exhibition that you wanted to attend for a long time or simply doing some shopping in a shopping centre.
During these activities you will test new tools that will help you reach your “digital detox” objective. These are digital charging totems available in many shopping centres, museums and theatres that will allow you to safely charge your device by leaving it in a personal box and to forget it for few hours.
5. Make sure to sleep enough
Try to put the devices in a different room from your bedroom when going to sleep. This will prevent your from using them right before sleeping and right after waking up; this is important because sleeping issues sometimes relate to technological addictions. Make sure you turn off all your devices at least two hours before going to sleep: the bedroom is made to sleep, so don’t turn it into a cinema or a shopping centre.
6. Try to give others your attention 100%
Make an effort to give the people you are talking to your complete attention. Think of how rude you will be judged by the person you are interacting with if you keep on checking your phone. When you spend time with your friends or your closest ones, forget about your smartphone. Try to synchronise your email so that they will be downloaded on your phone every two, three hours. This means that your time and energy won’t be wasted in useless distractions and that you can manage your emails and notifications in a specific moment during the day.
7. Find a “digital detox” friend
Things are always easier when you do them in two, so why not coupling with a “detox” friend? By sharing your objective with someone else, you can talk about your progress, motivate each other in difficult times and spend time together instead of texting through a phone.
8. Share what you are doing
Psychological studies have shown that if you make your “digital detox” public, people will observe you and you will feel more motivated reaching your objective. So, is it possible to achieve a “digital detox”? It definitely won’t be easy at the beginning but by following these small tricks you will definitely be ahead of your goal.
Have a good detox!