I was recently reading a magazine when I came across the word ‘digital detox’. This word seemed very fascinating to me so I searched its meaning on the internet.

My search’s results showed that digital detox is the time when a person refrains from using tech devices, such as mobiles, laptops, tablets, etc. A digital detox helps us to focus on real life interactions rather than wasting time on social media or electronic screens. It also helps us to interact with the people and nature around us.

First, let us look at the negative effects of the excessive use of gadgets and technology, and how a digital detox can help us get rid of such disorders.

High risk of increased stress

Constant use of technology in the shape of gadgets can increase our stress level and stress can indirectly be a source of many health issues, such as heart diseases.

An annual stress survey in America showed that around 18% Americans cited technology use as a significant source of stress in their life. Another study conducted by researchers in Sweden found that excessive use of technology among young adults was linked to depressive symptoms and increased stress levels.

Such high stress levels can be decreased by performing a digital detox.

Sleep disorders

Research has pointed out that using tech devices, especially prior to bed time, disturbs our sleep quality and quantity. In-bed technology use in particular negatively affects one’s sleep and mood.

Poor work-life balance

In a study published in the journal of Applied Research in Quality of Life, researchers have shown that constant technology use played a role in determining an individual’s work life balance. The study proposed that continuous use of internet and mobile technologies negatively influenced overall job satisfaction and increased job stress and burnout.

To top it all, excessive use of technology has also been suggested as a risk factor for mental health concerns. A digital detox can help us to prevent such problems.

Shortened attention span

Researchers have suggested that the constant use of technology has shortened our attention span, since we are bombarded by short videos, small character limits and constant news feeds. Due to this we lose our focus quickly as we surf from one video or social media post to another.

A survey conducted in the UK showed that “91 per cent of teachers believe children’s attention spans are becoming shorter as they opt for screen-based activities over conventional reading.”

How to do a digital detox More real-life interactions

There is surely no doubt that technology has helped us to stay in touch easily with each other, but research suggests that too much interaction with others over social media can be stressful.

However real-life interactions are vital for our mental health and are also considered as an important component in a person’s life. We can implement this by visiting our relatives and friends who live nearby, rather than connecting with them only on social media.

Set limits

In the current era, it is almost impossible to completely stop using mobile phones and other technology devices, but we can reduce their usage by setting time and activity limits.

We can make a checklist or timetable of when to use which gadget and for how long. For instance, we can limit ourselves by deciding that we won’t use mobile phones at night in bed so that we can fall asleep quickly and get proper rest. In addition, we should try to completely stop using mobile phones when we’re studying or sitting with family and guests.

We can also cut down on playing games on gadgets and instead try to play more indoor and outdoor games, leading to more face-to-face connectivity with people. This will also be physically beneficial for us in terms of the exercise we will be doing as a result.

Be creative

During the mobile restriction times we should try to do something creative, like we can spend the time in improving our hobbies, or we can start regular physical exercises like jogging, join a sports club or simply rest at home while reading a book.

Turn off notifications

Notifications are to draw our attention towards mobile phone or other gadgets. But very few notifications are really important enough to take note of immediately. Therefore, we can turn off our notifications for an hour or so, and spend that time doing something productive.

We can also power off our mobiles when we’re in a gathering or studying.

Symptoms that you might need a digital detox

You feel frazzled and strained if you can’t find your phone.You feel forced to check your phone every few minutes.You feel dull, inactive and depressed after spending time on social media.You’re fearful that you’ll miss an update if you don’t keep checking your device.You stay up late or you get up early only to check your mobile.You find it difficult to concentrate on anything without checking your phone.

I strongly believe that digital detox should be a part of our routine. We will surely see an improvement in our behaviour and productivity. In my view, it is vital to spread the word among our friends, peers and family about the effects the overuse of technology is having on our lives, how to recognise them and how to handle it.