Mental Health Month: Operation Digital Detox

The benefits of stepping out to look in

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Did you know that studies show that Americans check their phones 150 times a day—averaging every 6 minutes? This means that there are a 150 times within a 24 hour period that you are not where you are, but instead you’re in the virtual land of emails, social media, videos, articles, games, text messages, calls, and wherever else these extended limbs posing as devices take us.

[Related: Guyana: Destination Digital Detox]

There are countless benefits to the access provided via digital technology. The connectivity alone is enough to foster a dependency. We’re enslaved by the engagement, and easily so. There is something about the digital realm that allows us to feel like we’re a part of the whole of things—individuals constantly collaborating simultaneously in a collective space—it’s addictive.

As with most addictions, however, there are disadvantages.

Given the constant engagement one may begin to completely lose sight of self, or continue to see self, but only in relation, comparison, correspondence with, or reflection of another. This could potentially have a direct effect on your rationale, perception, confidence, and all around mental health.

Though there is much good to be gained in the digital space, there is certainly no harm in taking a step back to disconnect from digital in order to reconnect with yourself.

Let’s explore a few benefits of a digital detox:

  1. Acknowledgement of the present. There are humans, around you, right now, that you may not have even glanced at since beginning to read this article. Pause and say “hi.” Even considering the value to be gained in connecting with hundreds at a time, there is also great value in really engaging the people right there with you, right now. See them, feel them, connect.
  2. Clarity and assessment. There is so much noise in the digital space coming at you all day, every day—shut it up. Replace the digital noise with your inner-voice. What are YOU thinking? How do YOU feel? What is important to YOU at this moment? No, not in comparison to the perfect, unbothered people online, but how are you to you, for you? Is everything okay? Separate from them for a second, if only to see what’s up with you. You may miss you more than you know.
  3. Peace. How many times have you opened an email, read a text or tweet, watched a video, or saw a post that just sent your day spiraling downward? If for peace of mind alone, let it rest. Rely on your own personal experiences and vibrations for a while to see how your immediate world suites you. Adjust accordingly.
  4. Discipline. There is power in breaking habits. Conquering or defeating what you so long relied on and felt you couldn’t live without comes with its own reward. You feel powerful. You feel accomplished. You feel proud. You’re reminded that you’re in control. You feel like you can do anything if you put your mind to it, and you can.

You can do this—step out to look in. Your mental health will thank you.