El detox digital

Did you know that social networks have modified our brain chemistry? Before the existence of the digital world as we know it today, we were exposed to less stimuli from technology. But now we live with a device in our pocket all the time. Constant messages, 24-hour notifications and likes cause the brain to secrete dopamine, the happiness hormone that is produced when we engage in an activity that brings us pleasure.

It is no coincidence that it generates as much dependence as other addictions that also secrete dopamine, such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs. That is why we hear or read more and more about detoxification from social networks and new technologies. The so-called “dopamine fasting”, as it has been called from Silicon Valley.

From WellWo, we want to tell you about a practice that is not a one-time detox, but the goal is that it becomes a habit to perform daily in order to help your physical and mental health. It’s called digital detox, and here’s how to do it and why it’s so necessary in today’s age. 

How does hyperconnectivity impact us?

One of the most common problems and the reason why more and more health professionals recommend digital detox is the problems to fall asleep and have a restful sleep. The use of electronic devices shortly before sleep causes a physiological effect in which the state of deep sleep is not achieved. Using a social network or surfing the Internet stimulates brain activity and instead of preparing the brain for rest, it creates a false state of alertness.

The brightness of the screens to which we are exposed at night is similar to that of sunlight, which immediately captures the melanopsin receptor and our brain receives the information that it is daytime. At that moment, melatonin (sleep hormone) stops intervening because “daytime” is not its time to act, making its action almost non-existent.

For this reason, rest after exposure to light from screens is superficial. Not only is sleep not deep and restful, but it also influences our body’s biological clocks de nuestro cuerpo and the functions of repair, regeneration and regulation of the immune system are not carried out as they should be. This leads to serious health problems in the long run.

Other effects of hyperconnectivity are mental problems such as depression, anxiety, constant device dependence and FOMO. In fact, in the medical field there is already a term for the pathology related to excessive use of technology and the Internet: Internet Adicction Disorder (IAD). 

Social isolation or loss of pleasure in daily activities are other consequences. Also nomophobia, which is the fear of not having a cell phone nearby. Memory loss, sedentary lifestyles, eye strain, overweight or obesity are also consequences that add to the list of consequences of technology abuse.

6 keys to perform a digital detox

  1. 2 hours before going to sleep, do not look at screens such as TV, tablet, cell phone and computer. Ideally, the digital detox should start at 8 pm in the evening. After this time, put the cell phone on silent or only for receiving calls. Have a quiet dinner with a relaxed chat, take the opportunity to read, listen to the radio or do quiet activities, without technological stimuli.
  2. The cell phone should not be on the table while eating, neither when eating alone, nor in company. Take the opportunity to enjoy, in a present way, the flavors of your dish and connect with the people with whom you share the table.
  3. When walking down the street, avoid looking at your cell phone. Digital detox is also done outside the home. Lift your head and perceive what is happening around you, observe the sky, the real world around you and/or listen to your favorite music while you are on your way to your destination.
  4. From time to time, clean up your social networks. Sometimes, we accumulate profiles that do not contribute anything to us, whose inputs are not positive, causing moods that do not take care of our mental and emotional health. Keep only those profiles that are constructive and add value to you.
  5. Cultivate assertive communication, trying to convey your concerns and emotions at the moment you feel them, in order to avoid prolonging the suffering. Technology has led to the existence of virtual monologs, through messages or audios, which hinder communication and sometimes excessively prolong the resolution of a conflict. The healthiest thing to do is to create spaces for dialogue with active listening that leads to alleviate anxieties and uncertainties.
  6. Remember that you have the right to disconnect. Changes in the way we work has been one of the most notorious effects of the pandemic and, although it has many benefits, it is true that it puts workers at risk of technological slavery. Therefore, digital disconnection has become a right that some countries are already implementing. 

What are the benefits of a digital detox?

– Improves sleep quality
– Reduces stress
– Improves emotional balance
– Reduces technological addiction and FOMO
– Increases sense of reality
– Improves memory and attention levels
– Benefits our personal relationships and communication
– Helps restore productivity and energy
– Improves self-esteem and self-confidence
– Improved appreciation of the environment and nature 

And remember, if you are unable to practice the digital detox because you feel you may be suffering from toxic hyperconnectivity; if you are dependent on your device; if you have been thinking about problems repeatedly for some time or have trouble falling asleep; if you notice loss of appetite or anxiety about eating; if you experience difficulty enjoying daily activities, we recommend that you consult a psychology professional, as they have the necessary training to help you.