Our attitude towards the digital world is very contradictory. Many studies show that most of us consider the internet to be the best source of information and knowledge. Moreover, an online presence increases the chances of finding a job and makes most of the daily activities easier. Almost 80% of teenagers develop their interests and passions in the digital world. 60.2% feel calm and happy while using the internet. But this is only one face of the digital world.
On the other hand, 2 out of every 3 internet users say they are addicted to technology. Between more than half of Americans spend money 3-5 hours on their devices for personal purposes only, while 43% spend more time on it. And yet, 40% of people have never taken a digital detox in their lifetime.
Not sure if a digital detox could benefit you? Think about how often you feel like you’re wasting time while using the Internet. Or do you feel like you spend most of your life staring at screens and wishing you could make a change? Do your leisure activities always involve digital technology?
A digital detox means taking a break from technology and electronic devices to avoid being exposed to too much information and stimuli.. It can help you focus better on your current tasks, reduce stress levels, and experience more happiness in your life without the need for constant online connection.
Digital and dopamine detox – what’s it all about?
A digital detox is a way to limit exposure to digital stimuli that can cause fatigue, irritability, anxiety, concentration problems, and high-intensity physical health problems.. To avoid this, a digital detox suggests moderation in the use of technological devices such as smartphones (which are known to be particularly addictive), laptops, game consoles, tablets, televisions and even smartwatches.
A digital detox is a form of detox that involves limiting exposure to technology that can stimulate the release of dopamine. – a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness, contentment and pleasure. Dopamine levels in the brain can be elevated by various substances and activities. Think about how you feel after enjoying a delicious meal, buying something desirable, soaking up the sun, or exercising. If you experience happiness or satisfaction, it is because of dopamine.
Our brains are generally unable to differentiate the aforementioned activities from the activities performed in the digital world. Dopamine will be released when you play video games, watch another Netflix series, scroll through your Instagram feed, or watch a new video from your favorite YouTuber.
While these activities may seem pleasant and harmless, they can potentially become escalating behavioral addiction for example, binge eating disorder, shopping addiction, blackout or exercise addiction.
How to get into digital addiction?
The reward center in your brain, which is responsible for creating memories and habits related to pleasure, is heavily influenced by dopamine. For example, by watching funny videos on TikTok, your brain associates this activity with joy and satisfaction through this neurological system.
As you work, you begin to feel tired, bored, or frustrated. You realize it would be great to take a break to rest. You remember a funny video earlier that made you happy and feel rewarded. This encourages you to take a well-deserved TikTok break.
However, the cycle does not end there. When an action causes the release of dopamine, it creates a desire to repeat that action. Because the reward center in your brain is repeatedly activated, you may feel a stronger or more frequent urge to seek out stimuli to experience pleasure and happiness.
When you get used to enjoying a certain activity, you may start to need more to be satisfied. In the digital world, this might mean checking your favorite apps or games on your phone more often, or buying things from online stores more often.
But what if you can’t do it for some reason, for example, the phone is drained, there is no access to the Internet, or your boss scolds you for using your phone instead of working? This can result in physical and emotional stress.
According to Jo Barnes of Your Lifestyle Business, you may feel nervous, angry or have high levels of anxiety. You may also experience headaches, shortness of breath, and difficulty concentrating. You feel restless and keep thinking about what you want to do, you have trouble sitting still.
If you think that the behavior of someone who uses digital devices excessively is similar to the behavior of a smoker who feels the urge to smoke another cigarette, you are on the right track. When digital devices are used for a long time, the brain releases dopamine, but not as much as when the substances are consumed. However, this still stimulates the brain’s reward center in an unhealthy way and reduces the effects of dopamine.
Digital detox – why do you need it?
In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the digital world and reality. This border is becoming more and more vague. For example, the average teenager would have a hard time quantifying the amount of time spent in school compared to hours glued to a smartphone. They tend to keep it in their hands even during class.
This is a common dilemma that affects many of us. It’s easy to track how much time we spend on actual work compared to scrolling through social media or looking at memes while studying or working on a laptop. This also applies to students, people working from home and other social groups.
Taking a digital detox can be beneficial for anyone, no matter how busy they are. During the day, even quick and effortless activities like eating a candy bar or checking social media can stimulate our brain’s reward center and trigger a dopamine rush.
However, a digital detox is especially helpful when you start losing screen time; when duties at home, work or school overlap and you play for another hour instead; when you realize that the whole day has passed and you spend more time in front of the phone screen than with your loved ones; finally, when you find yourself canceling other plans more often, just to sit in front of your laptop.
Digital detox in practice
Simply being aware of a problem does not automatically lead to change. Otherwise, we could easily solve most of our difficulties. For example, you know that late-night smartphone scrolling can leave you feeling tired and cranky in the morning. You may even feel regret and worry about it, but you still continue the behavior. This is when a digital detox can help. Taking a break from your screen time will help reset and refresh both your mind and body, allowing you to focus on more meaningful tasks in the future.
By engaging in non-technological activities such as going outdoors with family members, reading books, or playing board games, you can break the habit of relying on your phone or laptop and start building meaningful relationships with the people around you. . In addition, a digital detox can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, increase self-awareness and productivity, improve sleep patterns, and more. can help.
But let’s not forget the incredible benefits of travel as a digital detox. Imagine discovering new places without the constant distraction of notifications and social media. You can fully immerse yourself in the beauty of your surroundings, connect with nature and appreciate the present moment. Whether it’s hiking through breathtaking landscapes or savoring the local cuisine, travel offers a chance to escape the digital world and experience the world with all your senses.
By the way, you can make your experience much easier by ordering your passport photo online.
Therefore, if you feel that you are spending too much time in front of the screen and it is negatively affecting your well-being, then it is time to take a digital detox. Get out of the house and explore the world around you; connect with loved ones and build more meaningful relationships; Take care of yourself and rediscover what makes you happy. A digital detox can help you reset and start over! Keep at least a small table plant – the presence of nature in general, even symbolically, is productive for your mental health.
You don’t have to do a long-term detox if you can’t afford it or don’t have the time for it. Short breaks like taking a day off from all digital activities can also help. The key is to consider how much time you spend online and take action to improve your well-being. This way, you can avoid unhealthy overstimulation of the brain’s reward center and reduce the effects of dopamine. Good luck!
Michal Jonca is a travel, food and trail enthusiast who has visited over 40 countries on four continents. He is a Travel Guide for the adventure travel company Solisci and a Community Manager at US Passport Photo.
This year alone, he had the pleasure of working in Thailand, Turkey and the Caucasian republics.
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