Digital Detox: Connecting with The Real World

March 21, 2019
Digital detoxes help relieve stress and connect with reality.

Let’s be honest: we’re almost always connected whether it is to our smartphone, computer, or tablet. The digital world has become a fundamental part of our daily routine. In fact, our smartphone is usually the first and the last thing we use every day. Now, are we aware of the time we spend submerged in this digital universe? Perhaps not. If we were, we’d probably take some measures in order to avoid it, such as a digital detox.

What would happen if we decided to spend less time on our social networks? Some people get worried just by the thought of not being able to check their social media accounts on a daily basis. But what was life like before this digital madness came around?

It’s important to note that we’re not saying that we have to eradicate social interaction from our lives. Nonetheless, it’s vital to be responsible when it comes to using social media. We need to use it in moderation and not let it take over our lives.

“Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”

-Albert Einstein-

It’s okay to free ourselves from technology every once in a while. After all, why do we feel this desperate need to be online all the time? It’s come to a point where we’ve become dependent on technology. For this reason, it’s a great idea to undergo a digital detox, disconnecting from technology in order to connect with reality, ourselves, and those around us. Let’s delve deeper into this.

A woman checking her social media accounts on her smartphone.

What is a digital detox?

A digital detox involves taking a break from the digital world. It’s about disconnecting from social networks, the Internet, and new technologies. Its objective is to break that digital dependence that makes us feel anxious when we haven’t checked our phone for a few hours (even minutes for some). This dependence has increased so much so that we’ve stopped looking after ourselves or our responsibilities.

The word detox is a contraction of the word detoxification. It’s about extracting the toxicity that’s living inside an organism – in this case, technology. One thing is certain: although technology sometimes is very helpful and entertaining, it also has plenty of negatives.

Now, it’s not about putting an end to our relationship with technology but about being aware of how we use it. We must pay attention to the amount of time we spend online and all those things we leave behind or procrastinate due to this addiction.

Keys to digital detoxing

Thinking about detoxifying from the digital world sounds easy, but it isn’t. We’ve become used to being online at all times, it’s part of our daily routine. Therefore, it takes a lot of perseverance and dedication. The following keys will help you detox from the digital world:

  • Plan your digital detox. This is a very personal step as it depends on each individual’s schedule. It could be on the weekends, at a certain time of the day… The important thing is to start, it doesn’t matter if it’s only for a few minutes a day. Remember that we establish habits slowly but surely, so it’s alright if you can’t go all in all at once.
  • Go step by step. Detoxification doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you want to do it right. It’s important to be patient with yourself and your process.
  • Think about yourself. Don’t be afraid to expand on yourself and your own thoughts and emotions. This will certainly help you understand why you feel the need to be constantly connected. Is there something you’re trying to avoid? Is there something you want that you don’t have? Are you feeling lonely in real life? The most important thing is to be aware that you can disconnect from the digital world and still live a good life.
  • Say goodbye to your notifications! Notifications often become a great ordeal. They sometimes come one after the other, which prevents us from concentrating on important activities. Activating push-up notifications can generate anxiety and can exacerbate the need to be online at all times.
  • Look for alternative plans. How about grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, reading a good book, or playing sports? Look for things to do! Don’t hesitate to try something out of your comfort zone for once. Keep yourself distracted so you don’t think about social networks as much.
  • Be more empathetic. Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes is fundamental. If we’re always looking at a screen while we’re with friends or family, we’re not respecting them in the slightest. You certainly like to be heard when you talk, right? Do the same for others. Respect them and pay attention to them.

“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.”

-B. F. Skinner-

On the other hand, it’s also a good idea to avoid leaving your cellphone close to you when you go to sleep. Having it near you can make you very anxious. On the other hand, keeping it away from you at night can improve your quality of sleep as it’ll make you feel relaxed.

Now, some people need more than just a simple detox. Certain individuals have developed a great obsession to the point where they need professional help. This is because they deeply rely on that digital universe and aren’t able to disconnect.

Happy friends undergoing a digital detox grabbing a cup of coffee together.

Benefits of digital detoxes

Digital detoxes have numerous benefits:

  • They allow you to relieve stress.
  • You’re able to spend more time with yourself.
  • You learn to better distribute your time.
  • Your empathy increases.
  • You make room to establish relationships with others and connect with them on a deeper level.
  • Digital detoxes allow you to build more authentic relationships.
  • You get more free time.
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation increase.
  • You get to learn more about yourself.

A digital detox favors better relationships with the world, others, and ourselves. It makes it possible for us to make other types of plans and establish priorities, instead of spending all our time scrolling through Instagram or watching videos. A digital detox is an opportunity to connect with reality and maximize our free time.

“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.”

-Christian Lous Lange-

  • Ugur, N. G., & Koc, T. (2015). Time for digital detox: Misuse of mobile technology and phubbing. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 195, 1022-1031.