Why it’s More Important Than Ever to Digitally Switch Off

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Do you feel like you spend too much time connected to a screen? It’s probably because you do. The average person checks their phone around 200 times a day. Need us to do the math? That’s once every six and a half minutes. Not only that, stats show that one in four people spend more time connected to the internet than they do sleeping. Ah. That’s where all that time goes.

The thing is, there’s so much more to excessive device usage than just the fact that it’s a serious drain on your time – there’s also the fact that being constantly connected to screens actually changes the way our brains work (and not in a good, spider-bite-to-Spiderman cyborg kind of way).

A study performed at Dartmouth College tested the deep comprehension levels of those reading or filling out forms on paper as opposed to screens. It found, overwhelmingly, that those reading on paper were far more likely to understand the meaning of documents, as opposed to just details.

“The ever-increasing demands of multitasking, divided attention, and information overload that individuals encounter in their use of digital technologies may cause them to ‘retreat’ to the less cognitively-demanding lower end of the concrete-abstract continuum,” the study’s authors explained.

So, you’ve had a digital detox scheduled into your diary since January (how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along, anyway?), but maybe it’s time to actually start doing it. From picking up a physical book again, writing lists and thoughts by hand rather than on a keyboard, or getting out into the world and living IRL. Just get some supportive activewear on, leave your phone at home and lock the door behind you. Your brain will thank you for it.

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