Every day, it’s getting harder and harder to track the moment when a healthy relationship with the internet turns toxic, preventing us from relaxing, learning new things, spending time with loved ones, and looking for hobbies. A digital detox can be the way out. Let’s see what it is, how to conduct it, and whether it’s possible to abandon the virtual world for good. If this figure seems exaggerated to you, think about the last time you ate, watched a movie or played games via your BetLabel login account, or went for a walk without a smartphone in hand?

 

What Digital Detox Is and Why It’s Needed

As you can guess from the name, digital or information detox is a complete or partial refusal to use the Internet, as well as digital devices: computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. This measure helps improve concentration and sleep, reduce stress levels, strengthen social ties, and improve the quality of life. The term digital detox appeared back in 2012, but every year this procedure becomes harder for people as digital devices penetrate deeper into everyday life. The average screen time of users is almost half of their total waking time.

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Where Digital Addiction Comes From

The human brain is to blame, or rather one of its hormones, dopamine, which is responsible for the feeling of pleasure. If in earlier times its release was mainly provoked by physical activity or the achievement of any goal, nowadays the rush of joy is caused by likes on social media, funny memes, and messages in chats. The brain adapts to the constant presence of digital devices and learns to reward the owner not for real victories, but for actions in the virtual universe.

 

The effect of this well-being is short-lived, so a person has to regularly immerse himself in the digital world for a new portion of hormones. The more time passes in this mode, the harder it is to start a digital detox and return to “normal” ways of getting dopamine: physical activity, work, or study. Why look for other sources of joy when your laptop or smartphone is at arm’s length?

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The Dangers of Digital Addiction

It may seem that the problem is exaggerated, but scientists often note the negative impact of the virtual world on the real world. American researchers point out that excessive use of smartphones can provoke feelings of loneliness, insecurity, anxiety, or depression. Separate studies have documented nomophobia, fear of being without a phone, phubbing, the tendency to be distracted by checking gadgets during live interaction, and screen voyeurism, looking at what is happening on other people’s screens at work, at home, or on public transportation. Less frightening but unpleasant manifestations of digital addiction can be:

  • Sleep disturbances. The glow from the screen of a smartphone or laptop in the evening disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. As a result, it’s harder for a person to fall asleep, and the quality of rest decreases.
  • Concentration problems. Constant notifications and switching between processes scatter attention. For this reason, gadget owners often complain of absent-mindedness and low productivity.
  • High stress levels. Endless doom scrolling (painful immersion in the newsfeed) and an overload of new information can cause feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and restlessness.
  • Decreased activity. The more time a person spends in front of a screen, the less attention he or she pays to walks, sports, and household chores. Lack of movement is bad for the whole body, causing fatigue, swelling, and discomfort.
  • Lack of communication. While many people use digital devices to communicate with others, it doesn’t make a difference. Live communication matters, which gives stronger emotions and strengthens relationships.
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It turns out that digital detox is a way to limit the influence of the internet, social media, and gadgets on your life, making it more fulfilling and peaceful. By spending more time offline, people learn to notice interesting details of their surroundings, have more success at work, learn new things, and find like-minded people.

How to Do a Digital Detox

If you decide to try a digital detox, remember one condition. The goal is not to stop using the internet and devices, but to make it conscious. To start, analyze your online activity, note the sites or apps that take up the most screen time, and limit your presence there:

  • On a smartphone. iPhone owners can examine their activity using the built-in report. There, you can also set limits for each app. Android smartphone owners have access to the “Digital Wellbeing” tool to track screen time. It notes how time is distributed between apps and helps you set limits and customize important notifications.
  • On PC. There are special programs that help you keep your focus on what’s important while on your computer. Some, like Escape or RescueTime, report on time spent online and highlight problem areas. Others, like Proud, One Big Thing, or Freedom, allow you to set daily goals, prioritize your time, and block distracting apps. There are also more creative tools, such as Flowstate, which deletes all text written by users if they are distracted from work for a long period of time.
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If you find digital detox difficult, start with small steps, gradually reducing unnecessary screen time. The following tips will help you properly incorporate digital divestment into your daily life:

  • Act within reason. You don’t have to eliminate all gadgets and observe a firm ascension. For example, if you need to stay in touch after hours, use a fitness bracelet with a notification function instead of a smartphone. It will prevent you from missing important messages, but it will also keep you on track.
  • Plan an activity for your digital detox period. It can be a walk with your dog, working out, meeting with friends, cleaning your room, taking a meditation course, reading, playing a musical instrument, or other hobbies. Having a to-do list ready will save you from having to sit down at your laptop out of boredom. Think about what you really want to do with your free hours or what you used to have no time for.
  • Make healthy habits. One of them is to keep your smartphone at the opposite end of the room instead of leaving it charging near your bed. This way, there will be less temptation to surf the web before bed or quickly check your correspondence.
  • Evaluate progress. A few days after starting the restrictions, go back to the analysis phase and check how they are working. There is a risk that instead of social media, you will start reading online magazines or correspondence on forums. Catch such “compensations” in time and get rid of them so as not to lose progress.
  • Try a detox retreat. This is what they call trips to places untouched by civilization to rest and reboot the brain. We put this item at the end of the list for a reason, as it’s unlikely to work for everyone. But if you feel like a digital detox should be more radical, try this option and see if life changes for the better.
  • Keep to-do lists. We’ve already mentioned that you can get a dopamine boost by completing tasks. Use this trick and write down all the things you have to do in one list, and then cross off what you managed to manage. You’ll see that it will be as much fun as the memes on social media.
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Balancing online and offline requires patience and sensitivity to yourself, but we believe you can do it.

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