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5 Digital Detox Strategies: Overcome Phone Addiction Today

Updated: Jan 20


Illust of digital detox

In today's digital era, the need to unplug and distance ourselves from screens has become increasingly important. Overusing digital devices and platforms can lead to many problems, including stress, anxiety, and even addiction. In this article, we explore four practical strategies to embrace a digital detox and promote healthier habits.



Strategy 1: Track How Many Minutes You Spend Time on the Internet


Get a notepad and pen. Write down the number of times you opened your phone on your notepad as soon as you notice it, and count approximately how many minutes you spend on the internet each time. (For example, if you spent 5 minutes on the internet when you opened the phone). At the end of the day, you will see how many times you opened your phone and how many minutes were wasted. Do this for the next 7 days to become aware of your habits and how much time they consume.



Strategy 2: Doing Nothing


When we think about the replacement of digital devices and social media, there's nothing as easily accessible as these things. So why don't we simply 'do nothing'? Just observe the views and sounds around us, and spend time contemplating or doing nothing. It may sound boring, but it's not as boring as you might think. Instead, it stimulates our creativity by thinking about solutions to problems and allows our brains to recover from excessive activity, including daily work and checking our phones.


Watch Out for Negative Thoughts


Also, when we think, it's not about obsessing over past negative experiences or fearing uncertain futures. If you get caught by negativity, you're not being fully present, and it can lead to self-sabotage and negative thinking. What we need to do when we think is seek out ideas or watch the thoughts that arise. Don't interrupt, judge, or condemn them; just let them be.


Being Present Moment


Doing nothing also means being fully present in the moment. We don't live in the future or the past; we live in the present moment. To practice being fully present, focus on your surroundings and your body. Doing nothing and focusing on the present moment is a great practice for mindfulness. Mindfulness is the key to overcoming internet, social media, and phone addiction.


Science Research of Doing Nothing


Dr. Kou Murayama conducted a study involving 259 college students where they were asked to sit and think (or do nothing) for 20 minutes. The results were surprising. The students found the experience more enjoyable than anticipated and it served as a beneficial mental break, helping them disconnect from stress and anxiety. This study suggests that taking a break to sit and think is good for mental health and happiness.



Strategy 3: Keeping the Phone Out of Sight


The second strategy is straightforward yet powerful- keep your phone away. Internet surfing and scrolling through social media are common ways to kill time in this digital era. When we have free time, our hands often unconsciously reach for our phones, leading us to spend more time on social media and random apps, which can make us realize that we've wasted another chunk of time on the internet. We may resolve not to check our phones, but this pattern repeats over time.


Out of Sight, Out of Mind


To break this habit, keep your phone somewhere you can't see it or easily reach out to it. Such as placing it inside your bag or somewhere outside of your room. Over the years, many of us have developed a habit of automatically 'unlocking' our phones when we're bored. This action occurs almost subconsciously, and we may not even realize it's happening. Once the phone is unlocked, we often end up spending a few minutes on it. You can start to break the habit of mindlessly checking your phone by keeping your phone away. It's also crucial to limit checking your phones to specific times of the day and stick to them.



Strategy 4: Turning Off the Phone When You realize


Have you ever found yourself opening and closing apps even when there are no new notifications? This is a common symptom of phone addiction. Our third strategy addresses this - turn off your phone when you notice you're checking it without purpose.


Break the Cycle


Each time you realize that you've opened your phone without a reason, simply turn it off. This small practice can really help you break the habit of checking your phone when you're bored, which is a key step in your journey towards digital detox.





Strategy 5: Reading Books


Books expand our knowledge and horizons and serve as a healthier alternative to mindlessly scrolling social media feeds.


A Well-spent Time at Home


Books are particularly effective when you're at home and feeling the urge to check your phone. If you don't feel like reading educational books after a long day, then choose a fiction book. Even reading fiction is much healthier than mindlessly engaging in social media, and it can be a relaxing way to end the day.



Conclusion


Overcoming phone addictions is challenging, but by implementing these strategies, one can gradually reduce screen time and break unhealthier habits. The key is to start small and consistently practice these strategies, and soon, you'll find yourself on the road toward a successful digital detox.


Embrace the present moment, keep your phone out of sight and mind, turn it off when bored, and rediscover the joy of reading. Every step you take towards reducing screen time is a step towards a healthy life.


References

Walsh, Karla. "The Legit Mental Health Benefits of Doing Nothing, According to Science." EatingWell, August 4, 2022. https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7991957/mental-health-benefits-of-doing-nothing-new-research/

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