The extent of consumption is affecting our behavior. Just as a child with a toy, when separated from our devices we can we get irritable and moody. Our use of them has turned into a dependency or an addiction. An addiction (just like sugar or tobacco) raises the level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released when the brain expects a reward or new information. When the level of dopamine drops, our mood changes and we crave more of the addiction. When we reach this level, all barriers drop. The brain does not know when it’s had enough. So we consume more and more in order to satisfy our mental stimulation.
Tips for detoxing
I recommend using the Moment App to check just how often you use your phone. Over the course of one week, seek to connect less and less to your phone by applying the tips below so that by the end of the week you will have significantly reduced your time spent on it.
Here is a list of tips, try them out for yourself:
- Disable alerts and notifications
- Establish phone-free zones (leave it outside bedroom and bathroom)
- Switch it off in the evening before our curfew
- Clear out unnecessary apps (access social media from a computer)
- Don’t take it into work meetings
- Use airplane mode at work (only turn it on during breaks)
- Use airplane mode while on vacation (your battery will last longer so you can make it through a day of taking pictures and looking up directions and things to do and see)
Go back to basics:
- Go back to using a 2G phone
- Favour voice calls over texting and social media
- Read magazines and crossword puzzles while going to the toilet
Challenge: can you make it through an evening without your phone?
The next time you go out to dinner, have everyone place their phones in a stack in the middle of the table. The first person to reach for their phone must pay for everyone’s dinner!
Take the challenge
Smartphones and technology are not to blame, we are. We have allowed ourselves to become so attached and dependent to the point of becoming addicted. Remember, technology itself is not a bad thing, it all depends on how it is used. Take the challenge to use the month of March to march away from your phone. Disconnecting for as little as one hour a day can give you a renewed sense of energy. You’ll find more time for other activities and appreciate just how much more you can get done when you’re not ‘switched on’. By consuming less you’ll reclaim and appreciate time for yourself, your family, relationships and social gatherings, and you’ll regain mental cognition such as improved focus, attention, productivity and sleep!
See alos: Lifestyle changes: How to deal with emotional detox