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Digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers. It is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress, focus more on social interaction and connection with nature in the physical world. Claimed benefits include increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety, and an overall better appreciation of one's environment. The best way to detox is by going into nature. Studies have shown that blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the level of “stress hormones” like cortisol all decrease faster in natural settings. Depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings.
Smartphones, laptops and tablets, combined with the increasing wireless Internet accessibility, enable technology users to constantly be connected to the digital world. Constant online connectivity may have a negative impact on the users’ experience with electronic connecting devices and result in a wish to temporarily refrain from communication technology usage.
In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after putting down their phones to spend time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. 
The motivations behind digital detoxing vary. In some cases the motivation is negative emotional responses to the technology usage, such as dissatisfaction or disappointment of the technology device and its functions. In other cases, users see the technology as a distracting factor that consumes time and energy, and want to take back control over their everyday lives. Some people have moral, ethical or political reasons to refrain from technology usage, such as fear of violation of their privacy. Furthermore, a concern of developing addictive behavior in terms of tech addiction or Internet addiction disorder is one of the motivations for disconnecting for a period of time.
Constant engagement with digital connecting devices at the workplace is claimed to lead to increased stress levels and reduce productivity. Certain characteristics of the technology make it more difficult to distinguish work from leisure. Moreover, being continually connected increases the amount of interruptions at work. Allowing employees to disconnect for a part of the day in order to truly focus on their work without disturbance from colleagues is claimed to be beneficial to the productivity and work environment.
The connecting devices’ multitasking character has a serious impact on the learning ability. Multitasking implies operating on a surface level, which only involves the short-time memory. Using multiple connecting devices as learning platforms is therefore not beneficial. A reduction of information choices enables the brain to focus more on the quality of the information rather than the hastiness of it.
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- Smith, J. L. (2013, December 28). Switch off – it’s time for your digital detox. The Telegraph.
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