Do you ever get that fleeting feeling of freedom when you’re in the shower? You know, like time stands still for moment. It brings a dash of relief and a pinch of peace to your day. The edge of stress is smoothed.
Well surprisingly, a day without the constant companionship of your digital device offers similar delights, I promise.
Nobody’s saying it’s easy to stop the endless checking of emails, messages, updates. To switch your phone off or leave it behind seems impossible. The mere thought of it may fill you with dread, stress and panic.
You’re not alone. Most of us are hooked. It’s an entrenched habit (if not a full-blown addiction). But it’s also bliss if you can take a break – if you can push past a little inner resistance and pain, a digital detox will surprise and delight you.
Give it a go and here’s what you can look forward to:
1. Time slows and expands
We are ever-rushed, over-scheduled and bombarded with notification dings and pings. And there’s never a gap, never any waiting. At the bus stop, in the coffee queue or on hold to your service provider, your eyes are glued to a screen.
Manage to set aside your device though, and space is amplified, in your head, in front of your eyes, in your day. There is time to think and wonder. Time to daydream and smile.
2. FOMO diminishes.
We have a nagging compulsion to know about all happenings — past, present and future, local and global. But the constant search for and discovery of world “news”, and of news from our “friends” and “followers” only briefly stops the itch.
However, when you switch off, after a little withdrawal, a rebellious sense of lightness and freedom kick in. You can see only what is in front of you at this moment. It’s a relief. it’s personal and private and liberating.
The Fear Of Missing Out subsides and you relish its absence.
3. Possibility and creativity emerge.
Beholden to our digital devices, virtual reality dominates our days — we swipe between bouts of working, socialising, browsing, shopping, gaming. Maybe a new app here, a new blog there but nothing much to jolt us out of autopilot.
But shun the world of the small screen and real-world possibility opens up, a world where you make and do, instead of view, click and consume.
Forced to think outside the screen, questions will come to mind: where could you go, who could you meet, what could you fix, play, build or cook?
4. Calm and Control resume.
Like any addiction, we kid ourselves if we believe we are in control. Sure we mute the thing now and again, even look away for a bit, but that faint tension we experience (whether conscious or not) is withdrawal.
We are conditioned to be alert, to react, always checking and listening for one chime or another.
Yet unlike Pavlov’s dog you can choose to stop the ringing. Take back control, get past withdrawal and enjoy the peace and calm.
5. Full-life living prevails.
We know our smart phones are making us dumb (and in some cases, self-absorbed and depressed). Certainly these digital distractors numb us against feeling bored, stressed and alone, but they don’t discriminate — they numb us generally.
Un-numb for day and see how it feels. Notice how different it feels when you are face-to-face with someone who laughs out loud. Notice how different it feels if you are both paying full attention to each other. Notice how different it feels to experience life more fully.
Are you game? Will you give it a try? Start with an hour and build to a day – a day of digital-detox delights.