Digital Detox – this is how it works
A day without a cell phone? Unthinkable for many. Yet the health consequences of excessive media exposure are enormous. More and more people – especially young people – are “electronically captivated: Internet addiction is now a recognized disease. What to do?
Dr. Daniela Otto was one of the first in Germany to make the topic of “Digital Detox” known through lectures and her book of the same name. An interview with the university lecturer and author, who also writes regularly for this online magazine. Here are her Digital Detox tips:
Daniela, you were one of the first to provide regular information on the topic of Digital Detox. What has happened since the book was published in 2016?
A lot. Digital Detox has arrived in the middle of society. Three years ago it was different, the term was unknown to many at the time. But the topic is becoming more compelling, and the need for Digital Detox is growing steadily.
The topic is so relevant, in fact, that you’ll find a great interview in the World you gave.
I’m happy when it reaches a large audience and I can share Digital Detox tips. I would like to see Digital Detox become mainstream – because it is so relevant to all of us, arguably one of the most important topics of our time ever.
What do you base that on?
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t stressed by cell phone is. Technical developments are happening faster and faster. But we are constantly lagging behind, we have never really learned how to deal with them. That has consequential damage.
Of what kind?
The separation between offline and online is almost impossible to maintain. We are always “on”, always reachable, many don’t even turn off their cell phones at night anymore. This permanent accessibility – the mere awareness of always being reachable is enough – causes us to feel a burden. inner alertness. We no longer allow deep relaxation. Yet this is more important than ever. More and more studies show that the intensive use of digital media makes people unhappy, can even trigger depression. Our brain is changing. We are less and less able to concentrate, many are even addicted.
Can you explain cell phone addiction a little more?
The same thing happens in our brain as with any other addiction. When reaching for the cell phone, many hope for the reward: Did someone write to me? Does someone think my post is great? Did the thumbs go up? When that happens. Reward center in our brain is activated and dopamine, the so-called happiness hormone, is released. This feels great at first, but the consequence is that I want to feel this effect again and again. Of course, not everyone becomes addicted to it, but the conditions for an addictive cycle are in place. But what happens to a society whose self-worth depends on the digital evaluation of others? Where are we headed? I fear we’ve lost our bearings. We are drifting into the non-essentials, have become an ego- and distraction society become.
What are your Digital Detox tips?
First become aware of your own media use behavior. That is like going on a diet: If you don’t know when and how much food you’re eating, you won’t succeed in losing weight. But if you are aware of this, you can do something about it specifically. Digital Detox is about creating a conscious use of digital media to develop. Consciously switching off and thus integrating more peace and quiet into everyday life – and this can be done on a large or small scale. You don’t have to be offline for a week, even small steps can make a huge difference: It helps not to look at your cell phone first thing in the morning. Turn it off an hour before you go to bed. Going for walks and taking lunch breaks without a smartphone are a Benefit for our mind, we can relax in a completely different way.
So is digital detox wellness?
Even pure wellness! Digital stress is one of the greatest sources of stress for body and soul. We need to understand that. All the treatments in the world will not contribute to lasting relaxation if we are bombarded by emails again immediately afterwards. Especially in the beauty sector, there is additional bad news: The blue light from smartphones and tablets is aging us, which is called Digital Aging. Nevertheless, we expose ourselves to all this again and again every day. It’s as if we’re voluntarily poisoning ourselves. If you really want to recover, you have to switch off digitally. If you want to be holistically beautiful, you have to detox digitally.
Lead photo: Brooke Lark, photos: Dr. Daniela Otto, Maarten van den Heuvel