It has been a really long time since I longed to reach for a book in between tiny moments of a movie paused while my boyfriend went to grab something or while we waited for the next episode to start.
The intention of writing this article is to provide a brief summary of Digital Minimalism, focusing on what I found the most useful and highlighting my own journey towards digital minimalism. … Digital minimalism
According to a study by the World Economic Forum, digital media users often spend more hours online than they sleep, yet only half believe it improves their quality of life. Not only is increased in screen time found to not improve our quality of life significantly, but it is also found to be tightly correlated with stress, vulnerability to addictive behaviors, and a decline in physical activity.
You can read more statistics on digital use and mental wellness from the Happiness Hack book (highly recommended).
These stats, however, are no longer shocking. It is evident our addiction to our screens and technology is costing us our physiological and psychological health. As a response to the invasive and costly nature of digital addiction, various movements have sprung across the globe to motivate us to build a positive relationship with our digital lives.
The National Day of Unplugging is such a movement dedicated to a 24-hour long digital sabbatical to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media.
On Friday, March 1st at 7:00pm, I unplugged for the first time in a very very long time by putting away all my electronic devices* for a 24-hour period.
When Chris from Old Cove Road reached out to me via email to ask if he could share my blog post, How to use your smartphone like a hammer, on his website, I was utterly flattered. So, I went on his website to find out why my article was worthy of being shared, and as I browsed through, his podcast episode titled Write for Your Life caught my attention. In the episode, Chris explores the necessity of telling our stories, writing being one medium, to break down the stigma and misconception surrounding mental health and mental illness.
Most of us self-medicate to some degree to manage our emotional needs.
Self-medicating can be done through the use of drugs, alcohol, and other substances to deal with a plethora of negative emotions, including stress, anxiety, and depression.
Some people also self-medicate with excessive food, videogames, or watching TV.
Self-medicating can be defined as a behavior in which an individual uses a substance or any exogenous influence to self-administer treatment for physical or psychological ailments. In other words, we can self-medicate with almost anything as a way to escape from the emotional discomfort or anguish we feel.
Self-medicating is often harmful because we gravitate towards negative influences to deal with our emotional needs and discomforts. We eat junk food. We light a cigarette. We grab a drink to unwind after work, every single day. We stuff ourselves with cookies and ice-cream to help us forget our sadness.
When your phone buzzes or a notification pops up your screen, do you stop what you’re doing to look and respond? Do you have multiple devices constantly competing for your attention at all times? Do you find it hard to sit still for a bit without checking your phone or social media feeds? Have you been looking for ideas to unplug, without having to depend on sheer willpower followed by pure defeat?
If so, you can take the pledge to participate in this year’s National Day of Unplugging, a 24 hour global respite from technology. After taking the pledge, you can finally put all your electronic devices in a 16-digits-password-protected safe and throw it across the Atlantic ocean to finally have an uninterrupted board game night with your loved ones.
My introduction to the NoSurf community, ironically, happened as I was mindlessly browsing through Reddit, my favorite guilty pleasure, and stumbled upon the NoSurf subreddit, a community for people who want to become more productive by wasting less time mindlessly surfing the internet.
The NoSurf movement does not advocate for quitting the internet altogether. Instead, they advocate for cutting out negative internet use and mindless browsing.
After all, the internet and our digital devices are very valuable tools when used with purpose. I am forever in awe of the amount of information and knowledge available to me online, regarding any topic that might pique my interest, at a click of a button and within literal seconds.
That is indeed powerful.
However, our smartphones, social media accounts, streaming sites, and inboxes are intentionally designed to hijack our brain’s natural reward system, and our brain sees the internet as an easy pathway to trigger happy feelings.This hijacking is costing us our motivation and creativity, as we spend more and more time mindlessly browsing in a zombie-like state.
When your reward system is tuned to expect easy rewards from vicarious onscreen pleasures, why pursue difficult, messy real-world achievements?