Detox: The Modern Approach
Okay, many of you have probably read my previous post on the traditional approach to the "digital detox". But it's easier said than done. It's been around two weeks, and you may, or may not have, tried it out. For the most part, it really is difficult.
In today's society, where we have Netflix, MacBooks, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and the like, we all overuse technology. Technology has fundamentally changed life in the 21st century. Today, technological tools function as a necessity in completing everyday tasks at home, school, and in the workplace.
Check out the figures yourself.
In the USA, 87 percent of people in their twenties use two or more digital devices simultaneously.
67 percent of people in their thirties spend more than five hours each day on a digital device, also in the U.S.
90 percent of adults in the U.S. aged from 18–29 use social media — this is a seven percent increase over a 10-year period.
99 percent of people in the U.K. between the ages of 16 and 24 use social media weekly.
The majority of Norwegians between the ages of 13 and 39 spend 46.6 minutes using technology in bed every night.
The overuse of technology is on an increase and is linked, directly or indirectly, to conditions such as stress, anxiety, social isolation, depression, and insomnia.
I wouldn't say I am personally addicted to technology, but it is a necessity for the work I carry out, to stay connected with family and friends, watch my series on Netflix, and to stay connected with you all. But the usage of technology in our daily lives does lead to patterns of bad habits. Here are some of the ones I used to have:
Soon as I woke up, the first thing I would do is check my WhatsApp notifications, put my phone down again and go back to sleep.
When I woke up again, I would reach for my phone again and finish off looking at all my notifications.
Soon as I finished my morning routine, prayers, and meditation, I would logon to my Mac and catch up on all my emails and messages, planning for the day ahead, and then begin my work.
At work, I have no choice, as I am always in front of technology.
In the evening, Netflix would be on in the background, and I would be on the infinite scroll of Instagram, and constantly on WhatsApp.
After dinner, it was Netflix again. Of course, until I was tired and my eyes would shut.
Basically, I was always exhausted. These bad habits formed early on when I was a student and had carried on into my life until now.
Control your technology, don't let it control you.
Setting boundaries and sticking to them was key. Get into a routine where you don't need to check your phone constantly. Get an Apple Watch or some form of a smartwatch. Trust me on this one. You will be able to keep your phone away, and it will limit your exposure to notifications. Also, don't text. If you want to talk to someone, call them. The less screentime the better. And as before, put your phone away at least forty minutes before bed.
I began noticing that I was less stressed, happier, felt healthier, and had much more energy throughout the day. The overuse of technology seriously does exhaust us. I didn't lock my devices away or go on abstinence from technology altogether. I've tried social media 'deactivates' and 'deletes', and have ended up on every social platform. Don't try and jump straight to the top of the mountain; it's a climb.
Surrendering your devices, or deleting socials is an oppressive and unnecessary approach. You will feel imprisoned. Using technology is fine, trust me, I won't stop you. 65 percent of Americans agree to some extent that periodically unplugging is important for their mental health, but only 28 percent of those actually report doing so.
Don't completely detox, just detach periodically.
Detaching means keeping our devices and apps, but using them when necessary and for a limited time. When you're on the bus or train, don't mindlessly scroll through Instagram and Facebook, instead, read a book; expand your mind, don't expend it. Detachment requires a conscious decision on how we use technology. Initially, it may seem harder, but it is probably the only way we will be able to do it in 2020.
By detaching, you are always in control. Control your monkey; don't let it win.
I have given you both options, the traditional approach, or the modern approach. Choose which one you make yours. In short, be in control of your technology, don't let it control you. You will feel much more relaxed, healthier, and happier as a direct result.
My deepest prayers for you.
Keep smiling and spreading ānanda.