The Accidental Digital Detox
The other day I left my home without my mobile phone. Like any other digitally addicted human being I panicked at my discovery half way between the house and office. Damn! What do I do—option a) turn around and go back or b) put on my big girl pants and do the day without connectivity?
It was a nerve-wrecking decision that spawned a full-blown anxiety attack (more about that later).
The big question was—Do I venture out into the world without being able to be reached or even scarier—be able to contact people?
I decided to pull myself together and dare to conduct an experiment with myself as the human guinea pig. I continued my commute to the office—phoneless.
The first hour I was a mess. Sweaty palmed, heart palpitations, headache, poorly focused, and in general distress. But as the hours passed, I eased into having temporarily cut the cord on technology. My vitals calmed down, my mood improved, and I began to really get into the day appreciating my real live clients and the opportunity to go for a 90-minute walk on the beach during my lunch.
My fear was that I would return home to 500 unanswered emails and be up all night taking care of it. I was wrong. When I got home there were a about 150 emails of which maybe 12-18 were real, valuable, and needed a reply. This took less than an hour.
I got to bed on time happier and more relaxed than I had been in awhile. Note to self—disconnect, digitally detox and discover some peace along the way. Lesson learned!
I stumbled upon this quiz online and offer it to you. Go ahead…check yourself out:
Am I Addicted to my Smartphone?
This self-assessment is not meant to officially diagnose you with cell phone addiction. If you are concerned about your problematic behaviors, speak to your doctor or mental health professional about possible treatment.
- Do you find yourself spending more time on your smartphone than you realize?
- Do you find yourself mindlessly passing time on a regular basis by staring at your smartphone even though there might be better or more productive things to do?
- Do you seem to lose track of time when on your cell phone?
- Do you find yourself spending more time texting, tweeting, or emailing as opposed to talking to real-time people?
- Has the amount of time you spend on your cell phone been increasing?
- Do you secretly wish you could be a little less wired or connected to your cell phone?
- Do you sleep with your smartphone on or under your pillow or next to your bed regularly?
- Do you find yourself viewing and answering texts, tweets, and emails at all hours of the day and night, even when it means interrupting other things you are doing?
- Do you text, email, tweet, or surf the internet while driving or doing other similar activities that require your focused attention and concentration?
- Do you feel your use of your cell phone actually decreases your productivity at time?
- Do you feel reluctant to be without your smartphone, even for a short time?
- When you leave the house, you ALWAYS have your smartphone with you and you feel ill-at-ease or uncomfortable when you accidentally leave your smartphone in the car or at home, or you have no service, or it is broken?
- When you eat meals, is your cell phone always part of the table place setting?
- When your phone rings, beeps, buzzes, do you feel an intense urge to check for texts, tweets, or emails, updates, etc.?
- Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your phone many times a day even when you know there is likely nothing new or important to see?
If you or a loved one is concerned about excessive phone use or other digital distraction affecting your life, performance, and happiness—don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.
Source: Greenfield, D. (2013). Smartphone Abuse Test. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from http://virtual-addiction.com/new-smartphone-abuse-test-now-online/