It’s no secret that we love our technology. Smart phones are ubiquitous in the modern world, and for good reason. By simply reaching into our pockets, we’re allowed instant communication with anyone in the world, access to nearly all of recorded human knowledge, and the ability to create and manifest our ideas and projects. Whether you were born post-internet or not, it’s easy to take it all for granted. It’s good to remind ourselves just how incredible we’ve got it!
But with these amazing capabilities, there is of course a downside. Lacking a mindful approach, we can quite easily become too attached and even addicted to the endless buzzes and pings from texts, emails, social media posts, etc. Studies have shown that we get a small dopamine hit every time we get an alert, keeping us physiologically conditioned to come back for more. We even feel phantom vibrations when nothing is going on! Our constant desire for connectivity can have a major impact on various areas of our health. Waiting for pings and responses all day can keep us in a constant state of low-level anxiety; concentrating on bright screens at night can harm our sleep patterns; general overuse can put strains on our relationships at home and work...seriously detrimental stuff.
So what’s the solution?
There’s no need to freak out or do anything too drastic. A cell phone is a valuable tool - but we should remember that it is just a tool at the end of the day. By bringing more awareness to our usage habits, we can prevent technology from dictating our lives. A couple of helpful tips include setting technology curfews at night, and only checking emails and social media at certain times during the day or week. If you’re really overwhelming yourself, try a full-on technology vacation - get away for a while or stay home, but turn all of your devices completely off!
Along these lines, finding small ways to work some digital detox into your normal schedule can be very beneficial. This is where floating comes in. Among a plethora of benefits that sensory deprivation sessions provide, a good float can simply be a chance to unplug. Turn your phone off before you get in the tank and if you can, try not to make it the first thing you check when you get out. This is an opportunity to say “Sorry world, I’ve stepped out for a while - Leave a message.” You’re giving your body a chance to heal and rest while your mind takes a break from processing the never-ending data stream. As you develop a float practice, you realize that the world keeps on going whether you’re plugged in or not. You won’t be missing anything critical in an hour, and you can always catch up. In fact, what you’ll gain in clarity is much more valuable.
Worried that checking out for an hour will make you less productive? Studies show quite the opposite. Floating and other forms of mindfulness meditation have been shown to lower stress, improve focus, and generally make you happier. You owe it to yourself to get in a float tank and do some letting go.