Have you arrived at work or school, checked your pocket, realized you left your cell phone at home, and felt a cold chill run down your spine? Technology has become so engrained in our lives that being without it can leave us feeling empty, unfit, and even panicky. What feels like an important part of our daily functionality actually tends to get in the way, because so many of us are addicted.
We stare at screens all day long, spend extra time in the bathroom fiddling around on social media, and even put technology before our safety, doing things like texting while driving or walking across the street. Studies show that technology can contribute to stress, relationship strain, attention problems, mental disorders, and even physiological health problems like cancer. If you feel that technology gets in the way of your physical or mental health—most of us can admit that it gets in the way of our sleep and exercise—then a technology detox is the way to go. It may seem like a ridiculous concept, seeing as how technology is ingrained in virtually all forms of education and in every workplace, but there are baby steps you can take to help yourself.
Firstly, plan your progress. Develop a plan and never, ever waiver. Be specific about your goals, too. Vague declarations like “I’ll try to use Facebook less” rarely yield results, because they leave our minds open to justifications and rationalizations. Many people scoff at the idea of a technology detox because they see it as the equivalent of a kale-only diet: you’ll be that weirdo trying to emulate Walden. That’s not what we’re suggesting here; we understand that even social life alone requires a certain amount of technological prowess. Our point is: Do what you can—nothing more, nothing less. Tell yourself that you will not use Facebook—or whatever vice may be—at night, after 8, during the week, only once every couple hours, etc. If digital technology is required for work or school, keep it confined to those zones.
Don’t just sit around twiddling your thumbs, being bored, thinking about what you’re missing on Twitter. If you do, you’ll likely relapse. Instead, fill the void. Try new things—healthy, enjoyable things. Those fifteen minute work breaks, which you usually spend cycling through click-bait or texting your best friend? Don’t feel as though it’s been taken away from you, that you have to work extra long now because your relaxation outlet has been yanked away. Instead, go for a walk, do some light exercise, make conversation with someone in the office—someone with whom you otherwise wouldn’t interact.
This is one of the greatest advantages of a tech detox, or a drug detox of any kind: we’re not just subtracting the bad, we’re adding good, too. You’ll likely feel better by doing this and recognize, on your own, without being forced, that life is better when you don’t cling to technology excessively.
A technology detox is a huge step, a huge habit to break, and by doing so, you’ll gain knowledge about yourself— emotionally, relationally, physically, and spiritually—that can help you push past countless other types of problems in life. Again, this goes for any type of detox or self-assigned obstacle to overcome.
Technology is constantly evolving in a manner engineered to hook new people and keep them hooked. You don’t have to reject any new video game, website, or communication service from your life, but stay on guard, look out for addictive features, set limits for yourself, and if something feels like too much of a threat—leave it.
If you have questions about addiction counseling or treatment options related to technology or other behavioral addictions and dependencies, contact Hired Power at 800-910-9299 today.
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