My daughter, Madison, and I were on a hiking trip in the San Jacinto Mountains around Idyllwild, California. Madison left a day early for work WITH MY IPHONE in her car.
A day and a half without my phone to email, text or call sucked out loud.
Then a strange thing happened. I thought to myself, “I feel a sense of freedom and liberation. I don’t have to respond to anyone.” The constant stream of alerts had stopped, and I was free to be my authentic self again.
The deafening silence morphed into profound silence. I took a solo hike that was halted every few minutes to write down the flood of insights and perceptions that kept coming to me. I was getting clarity and perspective on many issues in my personal and professional life.
My digital detox was on.
Digital detox refers to a period when you make a conscious decision not to go online or use connected devices.
Why a digital detox?
The digital detox trend has been born out of the realization that being tethered to your smart phone or tablet is negatively affecting peoples’ everyday lives. That impact includes losing sleep, neglecting homework, and ignoring friends and family.
Smart phones are creativity and teamwork killers, because they’re always buzzing and interrupting collaboration sessions.
Neuroscientists observed 35 people who were totally cut off from their devices in the Moroccan desert. The results were life-changing. Benefits included:
Better Posture, Deeper Friendships
People’s posture noticeably changed. They began to adapt to primarily looking forward into people’s eyes, rather than downward into their screens. This opened up the front of their bodies, pushing back their shoulders and realigning the back of their head with the spine.
The lack of constant distraction appeared to free people’s minds to contemplate more important issues in their lives. People in the study made career and relationship changes or decided to commit to health and fitness.
A Day without Google
When a general trivia question comes up, people immediately Google the answer, ending that particular line of questioning. However, without Google, people keep talking as they look for an answer, which often results in creative storytelling or hilarious guessing games.
RLC has been recommending digital detox for years under the terms media deprivation and forced isolation. Our digital detox extends to turning off all screens (including TV), audio and print. No media of any kind leads to silence, and that leads to you getting in touch with your own ideas, not those created by others.
Paul Castronovo, morning host at Big 105 Miami, tells the story of being alone on his boat one afternoon with no screens, audio or print. He grabbed a pad and started writing down the barrage of ideas and insights that came to him.
Tim Cook at Apple, Richard Branson at Virgin, and Google have all started digital detox programs.
We concur, and strongly recommend that you try it for a weekend, a day, a half-day or even a couple of hours. Give your mind a break and a rest. Watch your well-being and creativity soar.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/thiesson/