Here’s Why A Digital Detox Will Refresh Your Mental Outlook

Stress makes you fat. Period. And according to the YouTube life-hack prophet, Bright Side,  there are certain choices we make that aren’t food or exercise related that can pile on the pounds – namely, watching the news. Hearing upsetting news first thing in the morning can make you stressed, stress triggers a hormonal reaction in the body which causes you to comfort eat sugary foods, and sugary foods make you fat.

I don’t watch the news.

Skinniness isn’t blessed on me purely for the fact that my morning ritual is TV free, though. Matcha teas, exercise, a good night’s sleep and heaps of nuts do play a part, too. But we’re not here to talk about the wonders of almonds and planking right now. I’m here because it’s a Monday morning and I’ve just spent my weekend with two of my favourite people, indulging in some of the most awesome things the world has to offer, and it gave me an epiphany – online life is a bitch.

Gone are the days where we’d wake up and just get washed and dressed. Nowadays, the day doesn’t begin without, first and foremost, unplugging your charged mobile and checking on the inundation of notifications clogging up your screen.

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Urgh.

At the risk of sounding like a geriatric, but, this is just damn hell! Evasion of the TV in the morning may be doable, but the infiltration of it on my phone is not. And the worst part of it is, it’s imperative to check it.

Back when I was younger, reluctance to even own a mobile filled me with dread – I didn’t want to be ball and chained to a phone! How ridiculous! But, apparently, I needed one when I was out and about, so that – should I need anyone – I could call on them. Harrumphing at the thought of depending on this infernal vibrating brick I had nowhere to put, I grumpily consented to it. To be fair, it was useful to have when I needed a lift home from the local swimming pool or back from the station after a day trip to Brighton. But when the screen would freeze or I’d run out of credit, my brain could think no further than fearing I’d just landed myself on a one-way ticket up sh*t street.

That was 13 years ago.

It only got worse.

We’re all too familiar with jobs being online, checking-in to flights online, seeing how your mates are doing online. They’re all useful things. Really useful, irksome, buzzy, pingy, anxiety-fuelling, demanding things.

Damn, I miss my handwriting.

And voices!

Hey, best friend! What do you sound like again? I’ve forgotten.

With this in mind, yesterday, I saw a news article (correction, I don’t watch the news, I read it…after eating) with bestselling author of How To Stop Time and Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt Haig, where he stated that his previous intent focus on social media negatively affected his mental health. In a generation where we’re more connected than we ever have been before, ironically, we’re also the most disconnected and lonely. It’s been reported that 16-24-year-olds are of the highest affected; Generation Z, the youth who have grown up with an iPad in hand from the moment they left the womb! Can you imagine? When I was 7, this kind of item was not on my list for Santa. I wanted a toy princess castle, a pop CD to dance to or a ball to shoot hoops with, not a 10-inch screen to play Candy Crush on! But this is what it’s come to – trawling the internet on a Saturday morning in bed, taking selfies and hash-tagging it as a “goal” because…we have to? And on top of that, there’s also the dissection of it all to worry about too.

Figuring out the algorithms and likes or meanings behind the online vs. offline attitude drives me potty! There is just no sense in it. Calculating why someone has 8,000 followers for sounding like a screaming cat on a fence or taking photos of their behind with a copied and pasted quote from the lips of another is painful. Is that what we admire nowadays – egocentric talent? Really? I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

What does it matter though? Are we defined by our internet pages? Does our status increase from such recognition? Sometimes, yes. If you’re Chris Pratt or Ryan Reynolds, then totally. But that’s only because they’re already A-Listers. More often than not these days, though, if you have a ton of followers and have done nothing special to warrant such granting, then you’re most probably a narcissist who’s paid for a heap of bots to feed your ego and make yourself look important. (Seriously, if you do that, that’s frickin’ sad. It must smell being so far up your own arse.)

Hanging out with real people, seeing real places, exploring crazy conversations and watching scary movies took me away from that digital destination this weekend. For the first time in ages, I felt alive! Not to say I didn’t check my phone, because, you kind of have to. But I limited it. Whatever anybody else was doing was of no concern to me. (Sorry, if that sounds rude. Good on you, if you had a nice weekend. I’m happy for you!) But, my point in saying this is because there’s a lesson to be learned here – happy people don’t go online all the time. Reporting if they’re bored today doesn’t occur to them. Scrolling and counting likes isn’t a part of their daily lives. They live life outside.

In conclusion, stress makes you fat. The news makes you stressed. So do your phones. Stay healthy in body and in mind by cutting down on Facebook chat and picking up with your mates in reality. Happiness is made through experiences, and the best experiences to be had are real.

#friendsnotphones

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