“Gadgets are the new drugs and we are GUPPIES (Gadget Hippies).”
― Saurabh Sharma
Recently, I left home without my mobile phone. YIKES! The prospect of venturing out into the world that day was scary. Like any other digitally addicted human being, I panicked at the discovery halfway between the house and office. Damn! What was I to do? Option a) turn around and go back or b) behave like an adult and take on the day without connectivity in the palm of my hand?
It was a nerve-racking decision that spawned a full-blown anxiety attack (more about that later).
The question that loomed large—could I brave the world without the safety net of being reachable, or even more terrifying, being able to reach out to others?
Pulling myself together, I dared to conduct an experiment with myself as the human lab rat. I continued the commute to my office—forsaking my smartphone.
In that moment, pledged to undergo a digital detox and wrestle the demon of phone addiction.
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 with technology.
My vitals calmed down, my mood improved, and I began to really get into being more fully present. This might sound a bit cliche. However, I noticed that I was more intently focused on my real live clients. My mind was more relaxed and instead of binging on emails, texts, and phone messages during my lunch break, I went for a hike.
This was definitely a healthier choice. My body and mind appreciated the fresh air, the sunshine, and the high-quality fitness break in nature during the middle of the day.
My irrational fear had been that I would return home to hundreds of unanswered emails, texts, and voicemail messages, and then be up all night taking care of them. I was wrong. When I got home there were about 150 various messages of which maybe 25 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!
The addiction is real. We are addicted to technology and suffering diminished quality of life in pursuit of 24/7 digital accessibility and connectivity.
Consider your own habits for a minute. Do you have a phone addiction? Could you benefit from a digital detox? What would a technology withdrawal look like to you?
In doing a little research, I stumbled upon this self-assessment . Go ahead…check yourself out.
It is not meant to officially diagnose you with cell phone addiction. But, if you’re like me, you will recognize yourself in some of the questions below:
If you or a loved one is concerned about phone addiction use or other digital distractions affecting your life, performance, and happiness—don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.
A supported digital detox might be a gift in service to your well-being.
Like most of us, I am a borderline digital addiction case and have been making a conscious effort to leave the phone behind during socializing and exercising. In our home, we have a phone basket for use at meal-times and movie nights. It’s worked out well.
Like this food for thought? Check out these short nutritious mental fitness bites.
Source: Greenfield, D. (2013). Smartphone Abuse Test. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from
Lisa Cypers Kamen is a lifestyle management consultant who explores the art and science of happiness in her work as a speaker, author, and happiness expert. Through her globally syndicated positive psychology podcast, books, media appearances, and documentary film, Kamen has impacted millions of people around the world.
Our communications do not constitute mental health treatment nor is it indicative of a private therapeutic relationship.
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