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Wellness

How Detoxing From Electronics Has Changed My Life

Everywhere I go, I see people hunched over, their necks down, eyes glued to a small box with a light shining from it. Bus rides, doctor’s offices, airport gates, college classes/lecture halls… even people who didn’t grow up with the normalized culture of electronic devices are addicted to their phones (such as the middle-aged and elderly). Classrooms everywhere in the US are flooded with students who are glued to their cell phones. Essentially, anywhere I go, it seems to be that people are stuck to some electronic device. Most of the time, these devices are phones. 

It seems to me that phones have become a source of entertainment, a hobby, and in some cases, addiction. As a matter of fact, there is an entire community on Reddit.com called No Surf, where people discuss their issues about being addicted to the internet or their devices. 

I have noticed that most people cannot even go a few minutes without checking their phones. It’s kind of sad, in my opinion. Yes, we do need our phones for emergencies, but most of the time, people just want to check certain apps for fun. Next thing you know, you’re on your phone for a long time. 

It is also common for people to be addicted to their phones while they are hanging out with friends/family. Why share a connection with a phone screen when it can be shared in a heartfelt way with an actual person? A phone is replaceable, but people and memories are not. 

What I don’t understand is how people cannot put their phones down for a while just to soak in the realities of life, instead of a bright phone screen. It really isn’t that difficult to put a phone down and enjoy other hobbies.

From personal experience, I have found that detoxing from technology is very beneficial. It boosts my mental health. I have found that not using my phone for extended periods of time has helped me a lot in my personal development and growth as a person. When I am not attached to a phone screen, I experience life better. I am more aware of my surroundings. I can pursue other productive hobbies such as art, reading, writing, cooking, exercising, doing homework, etc. I have also noticed how shying away from my phone has reduced eye and head pain for me. I notice that after a long session of staring at my phone, I get a headache. It honestly feels like my brain is being fried. 

If I am at home, I usually discipline myself to leave my phone in a spot and not touch it for as long as possible. Sometimes I will even text my family or friends real quick beforehand to let them know that I’m okay if I’m not responding. I still leave my phone on loud in case of emergencies. If I am going out with family, I will just leave my phone at home (because one of my parents or my sibling has their phones on them anyway), so I can spend more time connecting with them.  

Discipline is key when it comes to detoxing from technology. You have to train your mind to not tap into the desire of checking the device. It’s hard, but it’s a skill that can be learned. I trained myself to only look at my phone when I hear it ringing. I am still trying to get to the level where I can leave my phone on me in case I need it but don’t need to check it incessantly. 

I have also trained myself to not look at my phone at every waking moment of the day. On a bus ride to/from campus, for instance, I will continue reading one of my novels. I recommend doing this when waiting somewhere. Instead of defaulting to electronic usage, you can do something else. Bring a book, a book of puzzles, a journal, whatever else it is that engages your mind. You can also simply stare out the window or into nature to reflect on life. Every time I detox from my phone for hours on end, I feel freer, more alive, more aware of my surroundings, and life. 

Go put your phone down and do something else! Go pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. You can check your notifications later. There is so much more to life than a screen. The world is your oyster! 

 

Neha is a student at Michigan State University majoring in elementary education with minors in TESOL and mathematics. She is known for her love of feminism, books, art, shopping, writing, and anything Desi.
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