A truly fascinating study by Time in the US shows that 68% of us are taking our phones to bed, and 36% are texting and Facebooking whilst eating out at a restaurant. That people, is craaaaaaaaazy! No wonder we are stressed, wired, and struggling to sleep properly!
Whilst smart phones are undoubtedly amazing it’s also important to consider there is a hidden cost to continual connection. Did you know that continually checking your phone is actually an addictive behaviour. According to Psychology Today we get a little rush of dopamine every time we check and feel the instant gratification of “I’m needed/involved/wanted” with a comment or message. This rush is addictive (Pavlov’s Dogs, anyone?), so the more we check the more addictive it becomes, and the more we want to keep checking. It’s a very strong feedback loop, and it has a real knock on effect in terms of how we feel:
For example, do any of these sound familiar?
- Feeling really scattered, can’t concentrate on things for more than a few minutes at a time
- Shorter and shorter attention spans: cultivates a short term perspective. Long term goals are less likely to be achieved.
- Multitasking reducing creativity and innovation
- Lack of connection to the present moment: less joy found in what we are doing at the time, the TV show is less interesting, the interaction with our friend is disconnected and distracted
- Connection and engagement in real life with real people is reduced, and joy and happiness goes down, dissatisfaction goes up.
- Overstimulation also reduced sleep quality and disrupts the natural rhythm of life.
Listen, the reality is that the vast majority of us are not heart surgeons on call to save lives. Picking up that email or voicemail a couple of hours later 99% of the time MAKES NO DISCERABLE DIFFERENCE. AT ALL. TO ANYONE! Truly. The vast majority of us just do not need to be continually plugged in.
The fact is if you are continually recharging your phone you may well benefit from a Digital Detox: taking time to disconnect and recharge mind, body and spirit. Take time to reconnect with nature, get some perspective on the big questions and priorities in your life out of the addictive loop of instant gratification.
So, if you tick any of these boxes you may be in need of a Digital Detox:
- Your thumb on your dominant hand is sore from all the scrolling.
- You look at your phone first thing when you wake up.
- You get a bit twitchy and anxious if separated from your phone
- You get paniced when the battery is running low
- You are feeling hurried and lacking in concentration
How To Digital Detox?
Simple. Go out to dinner and leave the phone at home, taste the food, enjoy the conversation you are having at that moment. Have a “Phone Curfew” at home at 8pm. Both phones off so you can truly connect with your partner or kids. Get out in nature and connect to the real world and leave the phone behind as you feel the sand beneath your feet. Have a “Phone Free Dinner Party”. All the phones go in a box at the door and everyone picks them up when they leave, and not before. See the engagement, proper listening and FUN increase. Have a Personal Development Digital Detox and download my free “How to be a Time Ninja” ebook, go to a café and spend a couple of phone free hours figuring out how to make 2014 your most rocking year ever.
Just set one Detox rule, and see the difference in your connection to yourself and to others. Come tell me how this impacts your life on Facebook, and share this with anyone you think needs a little more reconnection!