If having your smartphone out of sight leaves you panicky and out of sorts, you are not alone. In a new study from the University of Missouri, researchers moved smartphones away from study participants to the other side of the room. The simple act of taking their phones away led to higher heart rates and blood pressures and contributed to poor performance on a simple word search game.
Technology isn’t the enemy; on the contrary, it’s enhanced our lives in unimaginable ways. Consciously making the decision to control our device usage can offer the peace, relaxation and time necessary to fully engaged in other parts of our lives.
Here are Seven Tips for a Digital Detox:
- Set simple goals. Start out small; put your phone in a drawer for 30 minutes at a time. Or, keep it in your purse or suit pocket when talking to your coworkers or family. Agree on a time each evening when you put it on the shelf and don’t check your updates until the morning.
- Get some fresh air. Explore the downtown area, go on a scenic hike, or take in the sights at a new café. Invite someone special on your adventure. You’ll savor the experience more without the distraction of technology.
- View life through a new lens. A digital camera will most likely produce a better quality photo when taking pictures for a blog or a family photo. Experiment with a camera instead of a cell phone and you may even pick up a new hobby in the process.
- Tackle a digital cleanse. For some people, doctors, parents and those in particular business fields, this may not be realistic. But, when possible, pick a day and disconnect. No sneak peeks on someone else’s device!
- Fill the void. Make a list of all the things you’ve dreamed of doing with your free time. It’s amazing how many simple gestures you’ll have time for once you put down your device. This is your golden opportunity to focus entirely on an activity or personal connection without the distracting rings, pings and dings of a smartphone.
- Make it a family affair. Set the example for your kids. Get everyone involved by making the dinner table a device-free zone. Even if it starts with just an hour each night, put all phones in a basket, so you have a chance to interact with each other. Involve them in a few hours of weekend unplugging and fill the time with an activity that the whole family will enjoy.
- Initiate a friendly digital detox at the office. It’s obvious when you walk by your coworker’s office and he or she is looking down checking their texts or social media under their desk. Make an effort to focus on work and get others involved. You will be surprised at how the conversation in the break room may improve once there is dedicated time to personal interaction.