Have you ever mindlessly scrolled through social media only to look up and see that an hour has passed by without your knowledge? Well, I definitely have.
While the use of tech and social media can be a welcome distraction at times, it can also be emotionally draining and can inhibit our capacity to genuinely connect with those around us. It can also lead to what’s called cognitive overload. We only have so much mental bandwidth to work with at a given time and the never-ending flood of images and information being presented through digital media can lead to cognitive exhaustion, loss of attention, and irritability.
The obvious solution would be to take a break from your phone and digital media from time to time. If you’ve tried, you’ve probably noticed this is easier said than done!
Have you ever wondered why it can be so difficult to put your phone down? Most apps are designed to keep us engaged way longer than we’d like to admit. For example, the use of “likes” and notifications on social media actually work to create what is known in psychology as a “reward pattern”. We see a notification, we take in the fact that someone has liked our post, and we experience a surge in dopamine, the chemical in our brains responsible for feeling good. Hence, we are rewarded for the use of our phones. Engaging on social media actually becomes a way for our brains to keep seeking a “reward”, i.e. that surge of dopamine that occurs when we get a new follower or view a bright and beautifully-coloured image.
In light of this, try to go a little easier on yourself. Taking a break from digital media is HARD. And it’s hard for everyone. But the benefits are worth it!
A digital detox usually involves a set period of time where a person refrains from using their tech devices. Detoxing from digital devices can also include limiting time spent on social media, checking emails, sending and receiving texts, the list goes on. Digital detoxes allow us to take a step back from the distractions on our phones and maintain focus on the happenings in our daily lives. We’re better able to focus on the thoughts and feelings that come up, rather than distracting, numbing, or disconnecting through the use of technology.
Here are some of the benefits of taking a digital detox:
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