Dr. Ernest Levister
Ask 10 people to define “digital dependency,” and you’ll likely get 10 different responses. But the basic concept of the word is straightforward. It’s about the ‘device appendage’. The compulsive urge and pressure to be and stay connected.
If lately you’ve felt that giving yourself a break from digital devices might be just what the doctor ordered, you’re not alone.
When you’re overly immersed in emails, instant messaging and social media we’re missing out on real conversations, thinking deeply and creatively. Truth is we all know that it would benefit us body and soul to disconnect on occasion.
It’s no coincidence that as we find ourselves increasingly barraged with distractions – a 2013 University of Southern California study estimated that the average American consumes an astonishing 13-plus hours of media a day.
You can see evidence everywhere. From the once sacred family dinner table to texting while driving, smart phones and other digital devices provide a near-perfect unignorable stimulus that promises to pull your focus away from whatever task your brain is working on.
Polls paint a troubling picture of device dependency. Americans spend 1.7 hours a day social networking and check their phones some 46 times a day. The result is that disconnecting from the siren call of technology has become both trendy and a mental-health must do.
Hospitals across the country are increasingly using meditation, yoga, guided imagery and similar health-care offerings to patients undergoing surgery, pain management, cancer treatment and more.
Major employers such as American Express and Nike are taking mindfulness training to their staff. Fitness centers and mental health professionals are increasing the number of classes and training opportunities emphasizing the proven physical and mental benefits of regular pauses.
It used to be you left work and went home and recovered. Now you’ve got your devices that follow you everywhere. The body is designed to be energetic and active then recover.
Make a point of reducing the stress in your life. Put yourself in airplane mode. Do a digital Sabbath. That’s giving devices a rest for 24 hours over a weekend. Read a book. Take the scenic route home. Practice being intentionally quiet at least once a day. Power down, log off and enjoy your meal. Before you answer those emails, ask yourself if they can wait..
As award winning actress Kerry Washington recently posted on Instagram, “It’s time to take a teeny break from social media. Feeling called to be a bit more quiet and still.”