Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Although we are not quite there yet, we have become addicted to our technological devices. There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the idea of “a digital detox,” of putting down our digital devices and rediscovering how to be fully alert and attuned to our experiences. By constantly using smartphones, tablets, and computers we may face lack of sleep, a bout of anxiety or depression, and of course constant demand for our attention that deprives our minds of a much-needed break.

Here is why you need to put down your digital device and take a break from technology:

Lack of Sleep
Attachment to digital devices can lead to a severe lack of sleep. Some people sleep with their smartphones checking the messages in the middle of the night. Naturally, such an activity disrupts the sleep cycle and impacts your overall energy for the day to come. Not only will the light from the device interrupt the cycle but checking your email or social media accounts will create stimulation that makes it more difficult to fall back asleep.

Anxiety & Depression
Many people question whether or not digital devices, in spite of many studies that prove this to be true, can trigger anxiety and depression. Focusing on other people’s lives can lead to comparisons, self-judgements and negative feelings about one’s own life, which in turn may generate depressive thoughts.

Not having enough likes, shares or comments can make people feel anxious about how they are perceived by others. Instead of focusing on how popular you are on social media, try paying more attention to how important you are to your loved ones. They will always care when a big life event happens, if you’ve had a bad day, or if you have an interesting story to share. Their verbal “likes” have deeper meaning and they will help you stay more focused on the positive aspects of your life.

Mental Break
By taking a break from digital devices you give your mind the mental break it needs. A digital detox may help us notice that there are far less urgent e-mails that require immediate attention. It helps us choose how we spend our own time, rather than spending it answering other people’s demands. It gives us a break from “keeping up” with the pace of the digital world and reconnects with our own rhythms. It creates a moment to recharge and rest.

Although it may be difficult to set aside the time needed, see if you could turn off your devices for an hour or a day. Plan your digital break, choose weekends and holidays, or let people know that you’ll be away from your e-mail and smartphone. Enjoy the change and notice your response to the freedom from pressure, expectations, and frustrations – at least for a brief stretch of time.

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