Accidental Digital Detox

Went camping for 5 days in a remote section of a national park here in Thailand (Bong Luk, Kaeng Krachan National Park, 2hours and 30km by 4x4 from park boundary) - there was no mobile phone reception, and no internet connection (there was a very weak wifi signal from one of the park rangers huts which had an Ipsat broadband connection, password not available not sure if there was any actual connection). No electricity except for a couple of hours by generator after sunset (the solar panel setup had broken). In 5 days there were only 4 other people staying at the camp site.


 


So ended up not looking at any screens (except iphone for music and podcasts), recharged the phone from car battery; and not getting any 'blue' artifical light (we used a gas lamp, and limited LED head torch).


 


Spent most days swimming in the rivers, walking, biking, foraging (wife is a bit of a local flora expert), sleeping, reading, collecting wood and assembling a sort of outdoor gym from rocks and fallen branches. Up at about 5, bed around 8-9pm.


 


+ Effects:


 


1. Don't need reading glasses anymore when using my contact lenses for computer work ( lens prescription -3.00 each eye, uncorrected astimagtisms, use +1.00 reading glasses for computer since about a year ago).


2. Able to concentrate much more quickly and easily, much less easily distracted, less willpower required to produce focussed state


3. Generally calmer with more sustained energy during daylight hours


4. HRV more frequently up around 70 (before break used to vary 40-70 during the week)


5. Generally less leg twitching when sitting for long periods at desk


 


- Effects:


 


1. Now feel naturally very drowsy only a couple of hours after sunset - so difficult to get work done after 7pm....


2. Fantasies of packing in city life and being a park ranger


3. Almost stole the best rocks from my 'temporary jungle gym'


4. Wife's successful foraging for (edible) mushrooms has produced renewed unhealthy interest in non-nutritional effects of certain local mushrooms e.g. 'het khee kwai'


 


 


I think a lot of the benefical effects are due to avoiding the 'net, TV and other feed media + circadian rhythm reset + 'movnat' type exercise due to lack of chairs and tables (lots of squatting, kneeling, crawling etc.). No real differences in diet.


 


Going to repeat this quarterly or more frequently.....


 


Comments

  • The internet is huge drain on dopamine, every time you open email or do a search you are spiking (using up) your curiosity for potential payouts. I think it's the same mechanism that's behind the "Willpower is a finite resource" research. I've experience the same "recharge" after a week of minimal internet. 


  • edited April 2014


    I'd attribute it less to 'digital detox' and more to 'stress detox'






    Could be - but I felt fairly unstressed before the break (and actually went camping the weekend before but for only 2 nights and with full mobile services). The effect was more similar (but much deeper) to walking for 20 mins on wet grass after a day in the office (I work on L36 of a typical office building - lots of emf) - I often walk the long way home (when it's cool enough which is not often) through a park and go barefoot - after 15-20 mins I feel extremely relaxed, I think this may be an earthing effect, as i frequently get a small static shock when touching metal in my apartment block e.g. lift door frames (not always the same one!) after a day at the office.


     


    Also my eyesight really improved ( or rather reversed to what it was about a year ago - i.e. no reading glasses required)




  • The internet is huge drain on dopamine, every time you open email or do a search you are spiking (using up) your curiosity for potential payouts. I think it's the same mechanism that's behind the "Willpower is a finite resource" research. I've experience the same "recharge" after a week of minimal internet. 






    Have you (or anyone reading) tried a weekly break from internet/social media? Any way of getting benefits from a shorter break? (shorter than a few days...)

  • What a fascinating thread.  It's basically my dream to one day not feel like I need all of this shit.  For the moment though, I'm a part of the world that is addicted to this abundance of information.


     


    I find the internet a huge time-drain, a benefit in so many ways, a stressor, a pollutant, and an addictive substance.  I look at the effects of all of this connectedness on the people around me and society as a whole.  I find loneliness to be higher than ever, (I live in NYC,) and attention deficit is something we all have -- and it isn't a 'disorder' at all, but rather a natural response to the way we live.


     


    So the way I try to cope is this:


     


    1.  Turn off everything at night.  Everything.


    2.  Once in a while, have a quiet evening with no internet, no music, no cell phones.


    3.  On those evenings, I take a salt water bath in silence.  It's hard to do, actually -- but it is very detoxing to the mind.


    4.  Whenever I can, I go to nature and turn everything off.  


    5.  I don't do social media.


    6.  I try to see people in person as much as possible instead of emailing or texting them.


     


    It isn't quite enough, though.  I look forward to having some money to go to nature more often.  I could live on a mountain, (as I have in my life,) and long for the contact with the Earth we all forget about.


  • I have been working on an initiative to structure my time on the internet. Part of that initiative is having a "lights off" time to start slowing down for the night. Mostly this about proactively deciding where your time/attention goes and setting up guard rails or else I'll eat all the marshmallows :) :

     
     [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amsqeYOk--w[/media]


  • Having a self- imposed news blackout really helps - I find that most of my news reading activity is feeding a basic confirmation bias, I.e. I mostly read only articles that reinforce or bolster my pre-existing opinions, in which case the reading/ watching is not really advancing learning or debate.


    Example: MH370 news - totally irrelevant to my life but got seriously hooked on following (PLEASE do not comment with any MH370 info!)


    One solution I'm thinking of is starting a long term slow project like building a kayak from scratch in the evenings/ weekends or some other longer term project requiring many small slow steps and with intermediate delayed pay-offs. The sustained attention required would maybe offset the defecit produced by Internet and social media usage.


    What a fascinating thread.  It's basically my dream to one day not feel like I need all of this shit.  For the moment though, I'm a part of the world that is addicted to this abundance of information.

     

    I find the internet a huge time-drain, a benefit in so many ways, a stressor, a pollutant, and an addictive substance.  I look at the effects of all of this connectedness on the people around me and society as a whole.  I find loneliness to be higher than ever, (I live in NYC,) and attention deficit is something we all have -- and it isn't a 'disorder' at all, but rather a natural response to the way we live.

     

    So the way I try to cope is this:

     

    1.  Turn off everything at night.  Everything.

    2.  Once in a while, have a quiet evening with no internet, no music, no cell phones.

    3.  On those evenings, I take a salt water bath in silence.  It's hard to do, actually -- but it is very detoxing to the mind.

    4.  Whenever I can, I go to nature and turn everything off.  

    5.  I don't do social media.

    6.  I try to see people in person as much as possible instead of emailing or texting them.

     

    It isn't quite enough, though.  I look forward to having some money to go to nature more often.  I could live on a mountain, (as I have in my life,) and long for the contact with the Earth we all forget about.

  • That is the cure-all, I believe -- working with one's hands on something unique.  A labour of love.


     


    Whatever that is.  A kayak sounds PERFECT.  Fuck, I wish I didn't live in NYC sometimes!  (The only thing I could handcraft here is like…  A humane mouse trap?  A very very tiny doll house?  I don't even know.)


     


    Another thing I've found that really helps for those who have the access is to make a fire on a regular basis.  Either outside or inside, but from scratch (meaning, no accelerants.)  To have to coddle it into being, and to keep looking after it.  It's alive and by far one of the most therapeutic things to watch, ever.


  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress

    I don't own a TV and I don't actively watch or read any news. I do subscribe to some niche newsletters about specific things I want to follow but other than that I could not care less about what is going on in the world. If it affects me, someone will tell me about it and I will look into it. Very little of it is useful in your life. 99% of news is either gossip or pornography.


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