The problem with spending endless hours behind a screen either scrolling, shopping or news reading is that CONSUMING distracts us from TUNING IN.
If we can’t tune into ourselves – our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, needs – we can’t CREATE the outcome we really want – to fully enjoy our lives! Even socializing in a virtual reality (i.e. social media) allows us to stay distracted for long periods of time, which takes us further away from reality and prevents us from being able to engage ourselves and others.
IS TECHNOLOGY MAYBE CONSUMING YOUR REALITY?
The constant stimulation (and distraction) available to us at any given time literally changes our brain; our dopamine and serotonin (our reward and happiness neurotransmitters). It means that a quick check on social media can give us a quick hit we crave, but it does not last long, leaving us feeling even more distracted (what was I doing?), unmotivated and for many, anxious.
Over 215 million people worldwide struggle with social media and internet addiction. Think of the media-multitasking that goes on that’s even just considered ‘normal’ these days: online shopping, texting a friend and checking social media all while watching Netflix.
Do you feel dependent on your devices? Could you give them all up for 24 hours?
SOME SIGNS YOU MAY NEED A BREAK FROM “VIRTUAL REALITY”
– feeling distracted super easily
– feeling spacey/poor memory
– engaging in gossip/drama/other people’s lives too much
– desiring material things
– feeling anxious for no reason
– forgetting what you were doing
6 WAYS TO RECONNECT WITH REALITY STARTING TODAY
Here are some ways to reconnect to reality, get back to the present and start living life fully!
DIGITAL DETOX TIP 1:
ENGAGE YOUR SENSES
When you do have off-screen time, cherish it. You don’t want to “scroll through” life like we scroll through Instagram, because we’re not getting any of these days back! Practice mindfulness by getting in touch with your senses you can’t engage through a screen like 3 dimensional sight and sound and of course smell, touch and taste, really appreciating each moment. Find an emotion to describe a moment so it locks the moment into a memory.
DIGITAL DETOX TIP 2:
It’s important to set boundaries for ourselves when it comes to all of this extra time spent in a digital reality. For example, you can schedule a time each day where you turn off your phone, such as a few hours before bed (which can also help with sleep!). Or maybe you don’t eat lunch in front of your computer when you’re working from home and instead sit down to eat mindfully without any technological distractions.
DIGITAL DETOX TIP 3:
CONNECT WITH NATURE
When digital reality provides us INSTANT and LACK (add to cart anyone?), nature provides us with two extremely valuable lessons: patience and abundance. Nature doesn’t rush anything, and it’s always abundant.
Get in nature to RESET your dopamine (reward neurotransmitter), recalibrate your stress chemicals, and get in touch with what is REAL. The moon rising and stars coming out are real. A sunrise/sunset is real. The ground we are walking on is real. The leaves in a forest are real and the waves of an ocean or lake are real!
DIGITAL DETOX TIP 4:
LIMIT DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS
Social media is sometimes called a “highlight reel” of people’s lives, because it doesn’t always reflect our true reality. Think of a screen like a filter – What we see on a screen is one perspective, someone’s opinion (even this newsletter), bias view, or a small snapshot of someone’s life.
The “meaning” we derive from these things becomes the reality we create for ourselves. For example, 100 people might see the exact same photo, but each people could come away with a different understanding/perspective, none of which might even be the reality of the person who took the photo.
DIGITAL DETOX TIP 5:
KICK IT OLD SCHOOL
Call us old-school, but there are other things you can do to have fun and find solitude that don’t require technology! Read a paper book, play a board game, do a puzzle, write in a journal, meditate, go for a walk etc. While many of these things CAN be done using a screen, there’s nothing like the OG!
DIGITAL DETOX TIP 6:
But actual nothing. Scrolling on social media is something, watching TV is something. Do NOTHING. GET BORED. We are so UNUSED to being bored, and our stimulation level is getting higher and higher (and attention span shorter and shorter). For example, watching an episode of a show isn’t enough anymore – We have to be able to “binge it” on Netflix!
COME VISIT US AT TMB
Dopamine is involved in motivation/procrastination, reward-seeking behaviours (addictive: sugar cravings, binging Netflix, scrolling/device addiction), and even motor control. Want to chat more about how our functional medicine program includes (an indirect) measurement of both dopamine and serotonin levels?
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING?
This article is excerpted from our weekly TMB Magazine — an exclusive subscriber only publication that is packed with all sorts of in-depth latest study breakdowns, functional medicine insights and wisdom from Dr. Bhat and her team.
Discover even more about your health, body and wellness and unlock your bio-individual power! Sign up today!