‘What consumes your mind controls your time.’
Today, that is the digital world for us. We spend a major part of our time in it. Our phones are the first thing we see when we wake up and the last thing we ‘check’ before we sleep. When we can’t sleep, our phones distract us. Simply put, our world is in some device or an other.
Our devices have made accessing information more convenient. Work is faster and staying in touch with family or friends is easier. Yet despite the many benefits, what we don’t realize is how much it affects us negatively.
Social media is designed to be addictive. As the co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian rightly said, “It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time”.
Each “like” releases “dopamine” our pleasure hormone. This is the same hormone that causes addictions to drugs and sugar.
Interestingly, school and college kids that are addicted to social media have social anxiety when meeting people. That is insane!
Furthermore when it isn’t beeping, we suffer from what we can call ‘phantom phone’. Checking our phones constantly because we feel that it might be ringing or we missed a message. This is again due to the dopamine rush we feel every time it does ring. The excitement/curiosity of wanting to know the content of a message.
Using any screen based device at night, harms our ability to fall asleep and our sleep cycle over a period of time. Our body releases a hormone called melatonin (the sleep hormone).
When we look at our phones, laptop, TV we are exposed to the blue light from the screens. This has the same effect on our eyes as broad daylight does. It cheats our brain to think it is daytime and thus our body doesn’t release melatonin. This keeps us awake and disturbs our sleeping pattern.
How do we detox from the all-handy digital world?
- Change your digital habits. Keep your phone away an hour before you sleep and for an hour after you wake up. Read a book or meditate before you sleep but keep away from the devices. Practice it everyday and make it a habit.
- Next, try and keep your phone away for at least half an hour when you reach home from work. Do this at meal times as well. Interact with your family when you come home. Spend time speaking to your friends at dinner rather than ‘chatting’ or taking ‘selfies’ mid meals.
- If you’re working late and accessing your computer or phone, you can switch it to something called the ‘night mode’ or ‘night light’. It reduces the blue light exposure, making it a little easier on the eyes.
- When your devices don’t have a night mode, you can go to https://justgetflux.com/. It adjusts the screen light to the time of the day.
- When alone or waiting for someone at a coffee shop, don’t reach for your phone. Instead look around at people (don’t worry, nobody will notice you cause they are all on their phones), observe your breathing, be grateful for the time you have.
Try this: Include as many changes as you can in your daily life. Forget about a silly fruit juice cleanse, let this be your new kind of ‘detox’.