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What is digital depression and how can we opt out?

What is digital depression and how can we opt out?

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? Maybe you drink a glass of water, maybe you stretch, maybe you lay awake staring at the ceiling until you have to reluctantly remove yourself from the dreamy cloud you call your bed. However, for most of us, the first thing we do is check our phones. Trust me, I’m totally guilty of this. And as winter looms over and we attempt to navigate through the chaos that 2020 has brought, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the plethora of photos, videos, news articles, tragedies, work emails and trends that a little rectangle with a screen has to show you each morning. Nevertheless, as a new year approaches, now has never been a better time to reflect and reconnect.

Photo via Madison Beer

Let’s face it, technology has an impact on us and even though it happens subconsciously, it also has the power to affect our moods, emotions and our interpretations on reality. There is no denying that the images we see on a screen take a toll—a digital depression if you will, and it’s incredible to think that something so little could have the power to make the weight of the world feel like it’s toppling over you. And even as I write this, I can’t help but swipe down on my iPhone to check if I’ve gotten a new notification or work email. The stress of constantly needing to be in the know is a vice that has come to plague our generation—so how do you opt out?

We’re moving into a new realm where technology and humans are co-existing and with the uprising of the coronavirus pandemic, the acceleration of technology among our society has never been quicker.  But there are a few things you can do to help you push the spectacle of it all off of your shoulders, even for a little. Now… I know you’re thinking the obvious: “opting out just means turning off our phones and becoming one with nature and ourselves.” And while we love a good cliché, this is where you’re wrong.

© Sarah Bahbah

Yes, you can decide to take a little nature walk and be disconnected from your phones every once in a while, in fact we highly recommend doing this regularly. However, we know that this is no sure solution. Eventually, you’ll want to feel the connection and reactions provided by your technology. And that’s okay. Instead of thinking that being connected to technology means you’re disconnected from reality, you can use technology to reconnect with the things you are passionate about.

We know that most technology we use is focused on a little thing we like to call an algorithm. You know, like when Instagram drastically changed our feeds out of chronological order and it seemed like the world went crazy? You see, it’s kind of like everything is part of an algorithm, and in some way, it mimics how our brain works. We like to continue to do things that stimulate us in a positive way. So, use technology to your advantage and create your own algorithm. Become the chooser of your content.  Every day, we’re being fed new things. New ideas, new ways to create, new ways to make friends…new ways to reconnect in a time where it feels like social distancing has created a wedge between “me, myself and I”.

© Sarah Bahbah

So, instead of following influencers and accounts that make you question yourself and your place, we encourage you to follow creatives, designers, artists, innovative new brands and accounts that you can take inspiration from. Start reworking your content so that it truly feeds into the things that you love most. We have all become so fixated on who we follow and who everyone else follows. But if we work the algorithm to show us content that we want to see, it will.

Technology can offer an endless plethora of possibilities. And some days, you may want to turn your phone off and give yourself a break and you should. But other days, when you find yourself glued to your phone and feeling down, remember that you’re the person who controls the search—use it to reconnect you to the things you love and to introduce you to the things you want to learn.

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