September 30, 2011
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

Technology Time-Out: Why You Need It

New Facebook profiles roll out today, and if previous changes are any indicator, it means there will be a lot of groaning and griping. Maybe this is a good weekend to take a break from not only Facebook, but from all your technological crutches.

Yes, that means email, too.

The rise of technology and the Internet is amazing in its ability to connect people around the globe to information and each other, but individuals who make the most of this access often face the adverse effects of overstimulation. We've already discussed the danger of "popcorn brain," but Internet addiction can also limit creativity and deep thought and lead to eyestrain, stress, and sleep deprivation.

Not to mention that every minute you spend checking Twitter or playing Farmville is time you aren't spending nourishing your primary food needs.

Like any other addiction, the initial withdrawal can be difficult. You may feel disconnected, jittery or impatient with the slower speed of a non-digitized life, but press through! On the other side, you may find yourself enjoying the leisurely cadence of your relaxed brain's musings. Here's how to do it:

1. Set a time goal. Whether it’s just a few hours, a day, or the whole weekend. Shoot a quick email to your emergency contacts to let them know you're going off the grid. If you must provide a backup method of reaching you, make it by phone - but turn off ALL alerts and push notifications other than your ringer.

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2. Hide your laptop. "Out of sight out of mind" isn't always true in practice, but it's not going to hurt your efforts.

3. Breathe deeply and clear your head. Let your brain reboot, so to speak.

4. Make unplugging a treat. Enjoy a favorite food, activity, or glass of wine while you revel in all the beauty you can see without your computer monitor.

5. Distract yourself. Get outdoors or meet up with a friend. Spend some face time (the real kind, not through the app) with your family. Leave your phone at home if you can. Pretty soon, you'll remember this isn't a distraction; this is living.

Do you make time to disconnect from your gadgets and reconnect with your life?

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