Month: April 2014

Daydreaming of Disconnection

Opening Image

A common topic of discussion in today’s news circles around the idea of technology addiction. The inability to live daily life without a computer, smartphone, tablet, or iPad has become increasingly prevalent in today’s world. Technology is now acting as a crutch rather than as a tool to enhance our quality of life. Everything we once thought about technology is now being turned upside down. But what about those of us who aren’t willing to be overcome by technology? Is there still hope for us? Although it sounds impossible, there are people who exist that are reaping the constant rewards from shutting down and disconnecting from the technological world on a daily basis. These are the people who are reaping the benefits of solitude, privacy, and ultimately a more satisfied life.

You’re Doing More Harm Than Good!

More and more studies are being conducted in order to test just how negative technology can be for us.  James Taylor, a professor at the University of San Francisco, has compiled a body of evidence which concludes that technology is having more than just a psychological effect on humans.  It has been proven that the overuse of specific types of technology has the same neurochemical effects as many more serious addictions.  Gambling, drug abuse, sex addiction, alcoholism – all of these emit a shot of dopamine which is the hormone of reward.

Give this simple test a try and be as honest as you can!

  • Do you check your phone the moment you wake up in the morning?
  • Do you commonly check your phone variously throughout the day?
  • Is there a screen present throughout the day more times than not?
  • Is there a constant flow of emails, texts, and messages throughout the day?
  • Do you have feelings of anxiety or depression when you become disconnected?
  • Are you ever panicked if you suddenly can’t find your cellphone?
  • Is technology always accessible to you throughout the day?
  • Do you check your phone right before bed time or even while lying in bed?

Although it may seem hard to actually classify yourself as an technology addict, if you answered yes to most of those questions, this is your first step.  Once you have recognized that you spend too much time attached to your cell phone or computer, you can begin the process of rehabilitation.  Obviously this is a different type of rehabilitation that we would see for drug or sex addictions, but nonetheless, it is a personally gratifying type of rehab. For example, here is a list of common things in your life that have the ability to improve greatly if you disconnected from technology:

 

blog 3

Tips & Techniques to Help You Disconnect 

First PictureNow I understand that it is nearly impossible to disconnect completely, but here are some suggestions that might help you start your journey on becoming more actively involved in your own life by disconnecting to the world of technology.  An article by David Steger promotes simple ways and subtle changes you can make in your everyday life in order disconnect.

1. Power Down – overnight, weekends, or quiet days, turn off as much technology as possible.

2. Create a No Technology Night – make sure your family is involved in this detox by playing board games, reading, or just catching up!

3. Make a Social Media Break Schedule – set aside time in your day to check social media, but try not to check it aside from this.

4. Give Reading Print a Try! – it may seem prehistoric now, but try reading a book or article written on actual paper!

5. Never Sleep Near Your Phone – you’ll sleep much easier and be less tempted to check it if you grow restless.

6. Get Outdoors – this is such a simple way to promote solitude and increase worldly perspectives without technology.

7. Don’t have Cellphones at the Table – have the ability to enjoy both your company and your food without this distraction.

All of these suggestions sound simple enough, but I personally feel that I would struggle to complete more than half in a single day! This just proves how addicting technology can be.  So challenge yourselves, see how much you can cut down checking social media an hour.  Keep it simple, but over time you’ll see that your habits can change and that you have a greater appreciation for disconnecting. Image 2

Digital Detox  

To get a better understanding of just how far we have come in the digital era, I want to introduce you to the lengths being taken to avoid this digital takeover.  In the United States, camps have been created in order to help people disconnect from technology and detox from the digital world.  One of these camps being Digital Detox Camp.

This is the mission statement of the camp:

“Digital Detox is an organization dedicated to creating balance in the digital age. We produce device-free events, lead workshops, host retreats and summer camps, run corporate trainings + seminars and bridge the gap between disconnecting and connecting.”

This highly innovative camp was created in order to create a healthy balance in the digital era. They aim to slow down the constant need to connect and share information with the world.  Understanding that we are part of an age that endlessly networks, has a fear of missing out, are highly technologically driven, and have constant screen time – they offer assistance and healthy ways to disconnect while inspiring and empowering people to create more meaningful and balanced lifestyles.

But how exactly does a camp like this work? Through various facets and creative outlets, the camp works it a community level in order to create individual understanding and growth.  A serious of events and retreats are available to members of the camp that suit each individual’s needs and wants.  Some of these are:

Digital Detox Retreats             Camp Grounded – Camp for Adults

Phone Free Parties                   Analog Zones & Festivals                    Corporate Workshops 

Reap the Rewards!

I fully understand just how difficult it may be for some people to disconnect to technology in their lives.  It has become a constant and present piece of daily lives.  As people, we enjoy that boost of dopamine our body receives when receiving a text or getting a friend request on Facebook.  We live in a world that fears the idea of entertaining one’s self without technology.  Unfortunately for us, this has left us seeming like a race of robots.  So why not try disconnecting, what’s the worst that can happen?  If anything, you’ll realize that you have an obsession and can go from there!  Once you get used to the idea I guarantee that you will find the benefits begin to outweigh costs.

Finally, to help gain more perspective on this issue, please watch this short video below.  Being a university student myself, this video really hits home about just how addicted students can become and how disconnecting can be so beneficial!  We are missing out on the beauty of life because of our reliance on technology.  Disconnect to Connect!