Environment - Digital Detox

Health Benefits

  • Improved mental health
  • Enhanced overall wellness
  • Better relationships

Overview

When we think of our environment, we may think of the air we breathe and the water we drink but there’s much more to it than that. Our external environment has gotten “polluted” to some degree by technology. We know it may seem odd that founders of a technology company are telling you about digital pollution but it’s the responsible thing to do. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, gives great advice: “Turn off your email; turn off your phone; disconnect from the Internet; figure out a way to set limits so you can concentrate when you need to, and disengage when you need to. Technology is a good servant but a bad master.”

If you choose to accept this Action Step, you will be given ways to help technology remain your servant and avoid it becoming your master.

Shockingly, according to a 2014 Neilson report the average American adult spends 11 hours per day with electronic media (television, radio, phones, computers). That basically means that when we subtract time for eating and sleeping, most of our other time is spent engaged with technology (and some people watch TV when they eat!). So what’s wrong with that? Many reports show that too much technology can negatively impact our relationships. Too much technology can cause people to feel more stressed or isolated. Some research has even demonstrated that technology overload can impede memory.

The key is moderation. We believe technology is amazing and should be embraced to make our lives easier and better. But we also believe we should not become chained to it.

Week-At-A-Glance

This week we will ask you to create an electronic device free zone, have a “no news is good news” day, incorporate “hard stops” into your day, and have a sacred Sunday (or Saturday or both!). And then finally, you’ll put all of this together to see how it feels to experience a “digital detox” day.

Why It Works

A growing body of research is showing that too much technology can have negative effects both physically and mentally. Too much technology can also negatively impact our relationships. Conversely, reducing “noise pollution” can positively impact wellness.

Citations

Stansfeld, S. A. "Noise pollution: non-auditory effects on health." British Medical Bulletin. 2003; 68(1): 243-257.

Passchier-Vermeer W, Passchier WF. Noise Exposure and Public Health. Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108(suppl1):123-131. 

Rosen LD, Lim AF, Felt J, et al. Media and technology use predicts ill-being among children, preteens and teenagers independent of the negative health impacts of exercise and eating habits. Computers in human behavior. 2014;35:364-375. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.036.

Ng SW, Popkin BM. Time use and physical activity: a shift away from movement across the globe. Obesity Reviews. 2012; (13):669-680.