How many of you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is reach for your phone? How many of you check your phone last thing before you go to sleep? I am going to have a wild guess and say that most of you nodded to both of those questions. For most of us, this habitual phone checking doesn’t stop there. How often do you find yourself reaching for your phone or laptop when you have a spare moment, filling every bit of space with a scroll, finding yourself becoming increasingly lost in the abyss of the internet?
In this modern era, time spent in a virtual reality is taking up more and more of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, the opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones and feel included within the broader community is imperative right now, and social media can be a powerful tool in aiding us to feel connected. However, a digital detox last week fortified my feelings around how ditching the phone for periods of time can work wonders.
The thing is, when we fill every void with incessant scrolling through cyber space, we prevent ourselves from boredom. And boredom can be positive. Huh? I hear you saying. You mean, staring up at a ceiling fan, watching time tick by, can actually be a good thing? Hear me out. It is during these times of spaciousness that you often experience great creative clarity. With entertainment constantly at our fingertips, we can immediately distract ourselves when the slightly uncomfortable feeling of just sitting with ourselves sets in. This fills the space and doesn’t allow for original thought. During my digital detox, I found that my writing flowed and I was able to overcome various hurdles I was encountering in my novel. I often find that when I come up against a roadblock in my writing, and my phone is nearby, then I will take a ‘scrolling break’. In simply picking up the phone, my mind becomes distracted with a plethora of new information and I lose the thread of my own creative thought.
The other thing that digital detoxing is wonderful for is creating time to escape comparison. Subliminally, we are constantly comparing our lives to others when we engage on social media platforms. We have the tendency to feel unproductive, overwhelmed, or experience the very real sensations of ‘missing out’. There are times that everyone seems to be coping better than us. But the truth is, everyone goes through struggle, and everyone experiences times when they feel like things are falling apart. When you’re feeling most vulnerable consciously stepping outside the virtual realm can help you get back on track and become reconnected with what it is that you want from life, not what other people want.
In a society of sensory overload, there’s not much space to connect in with ourselves. If you feel like screens have been swallowing up your every moment, and you’re unhappy about that, then it may be time to make some adjustments. You don’t need to be drastic to reap the benefits of digital detoxing, simply being mindful about your screen time can make the world of difference.
Creating specific times throughout the day when you check your phone, and phone-free times, can be a positive step forward in becoming mindful of what you are doing in the moment. Even waking up and making the conscious effort to check in with yourself first, before picking up the phone, could be step in the right direction to enjoying a more spacious reality.