A couple of years ago, a handpicked group of 35 CEOs, entrepreneurs and other influencers were whisked away to Morocco, where they had their tech taken away from them and their behaviour studied by undercover neuroscientists.
They had access to their smartphones on the first day of meeting one another, before undergoing a digital detox. Everything from their facial expressions to their physical movements and relationships were analysed as Fast Company reports, here’s what the neuroscientists uncovered:
Better posture, deeper connections
People’s posture changed dramatically during the digital detox. Rather than looking down at their screens, they looked up at one another. Their bodies opened up with shoulders back, which made their energy open up and helped them to appear more approachable. Better eye contact led to friendships blossoming, and the group felt more at ease with one another.
When we don’t know the answer to a burning question, we Google it which the study found is quite the conversation killer. Unable to rely on search engines, when a question arose, the group would keep talking as if they were searching for the answer, which often resulted in creative storytelling, guessing games and cracking jokes. These are the conversations that really form bonds with people, said the study’s leader, Kate Unsworth.
After just several days of switching off from tech, the group could remember random details about each other better, like the names of distant relatives that cropped up in conversation. The neuroscientists said this was because people were more present in conversations, with their brains able to process and store information more easily. As the article quite rightly explains: With the distractions of technology, our brains have been trained not to register seemingly insignificant details. These minor facts are actually very important in the process of bonding and learning about other people.
During the digital detox, the group said they didn’t have to sleep as long as they normally did, but felt more rested and revitalised. This was attributed to the blue light emitted from screens which suppress melatonin in our bodies, making us more alert as we drift off. There’s lots of research to suggest that people who check their phones just before hitting the pillow don’t get a very good rest.
One of the most significant findings from the study was that the group were more inclined to make big changes to their lives when they were switched off from tech. Some members made the decision to change jobs, while others decided to recommit to their health and fitness. The lack of constant distraction appeared to free people’s minds to contemplate more important issues in their lives, and it also made them believe they had the willpower to sustain a transformation, the article explains.
Your turn to detox!
Its clear to see that there are loads of benefits to disconnecting with tech and reconnecting with what’s real with one another and with the world around us.
So, why not enjoy some of these benefits yourself by planning a digital detox this summer? Whether it’s tonight, this weekend or next week; whether it’s for a few hours, an evening or a week or two. Get your tribe involved, enforce a ‘no tech’ policy in your house between certain hours. Instead of staring down at screens, head outdoors and look up and all around you. Rather than scrolling aimlessly through social media, catch up with friends and family, find out what they’ve been up to and engage in conversations that actually mean something.
We all need to step back from technology from time to time. To slow things down. To reconnect with ourselves. To just breathe. To feel free. To reclaim your spare time. To find that healthy balance.
The heart of the forest is the perfect place to head if you’re enjoying a digital detox. There’ll be no beeping or pinging to distract you; just the sound of birds chirping and bees buzzing, oh, and Go Ape-rs hollering like Tarzan in the treetops! Ditch the wi-fi and try a different connection by embarking on a Tree Top Adventure with your tribe. Catch you in the canopy soon!