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take a break from internetOh, the Internet. One of the most world-changing inventions of the past century, perhaps even in all of human history. Never before has everything been so available in so little effort for so low a cost. Research, communication, gaming, and even dating–all of these things once required you to leave your house, but now you can do all of these things from the comfort of your own home.

But as a result, the Internet can become an addictive force–a timesink that makes you look up at one moment and wonder where your life has gone. The Internet can also be stressful, what with emails flying around all day and constant reminders of the work you still have left to do. With the good comes the bad.

So when the Internet stops being something that supplements your life and makes it easier, perhaps the best course of action is to take a break from it entirely. If you’re reading this, chances are that you use the Internet regularly, but hear me out. Try taking a break from the Internet, whether it’s for 24 hours or 1 week or 6 months. Here are some of the benefits that you may be able to reap from doing so.

Novelty Addiction

Have you ever heard of “popcorn brain”? It’s a recent phenomenon that describes when a brain becomes so accustomed to the constant stimulation of electronic multitasking that it becomes more difficult to live life offline where things “pop” at a much slower rate. You may know this as “novelty addiction.”

take a break from internet

Try this. Visit Do Nothing For 2 Minutes and do exactly as the website says: sit still and do absolutely nothing for 2 minutes. According to the website’s creator, the average time on site is 58 seconds. Can you make it all the way to 2 minutes? If you can’t, then you may suffer from popcorn brain. The urge to always be doing something.

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Try taking a break from the Internet. Allow your mind to reset and rediscover the value of being still. When you come back, I guarantee that your sense of focus and contentment will be greater than before.

Physical Recuperation

When you browse the Internet, do you sit in the recommended position? That is, with your neck and shoulders straight, wrists in line with your forearms, gentle mouse grip and key touches, feet flat on the floor, with regular rest breaks? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding NO.

stop using the internet

In fact, as you spend more and more time on the Internet, your posture tends to get worse and worse unless you consciously keep it in mind to sit properly. If you do this day in and day out, you’ll end up developing physical discomforts and pains in the coming years (if you haven’t already). Plus, extended Internet usage implies extended computer usage, and that could mean excessive strain on your eyes 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity Do you spend many hours in front of a computer screen? If you do, you’re probably familiar with the inescapable eye strain that comes with it. Headaches, burning eyes, itchiness and just being tired, are... Read More .

By taking a break from the Internet, and the computer, you’ll give your body some time to recuperate and realign itself–that is, as long as you don’t replace the Internet with television or something similar.

More Time For Activities

How much time have you wasted on the Internet after being sucked into an endless vortex of cat pictures, YouTube videos 5 YouTube Videos That Will Give You ASMR Shivers 5 YouTube Videos That Will Give You ASMR Shivers ASMR is best described as a physical sensation of tingling that often begins in the scalp and moves down through the spine and sometimes to the limbs. The feeling of ASMR is triggered by a... Read More , and other such novelties? A lot, I’m betting. They say it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice in a field to become an expert. By now, it’s probably that we’re all experts on the Internet.

stop using the internet

Now imagine if you could take all of that Internet time and pour it into something else. Something you enjoy doing but always pushed back for one reason or another. Something new that you’d like to learn but never had the time to invest. How much of a master would you be by now?

Take an extended break from the Internet and go learn some new skills. Discover new hobbies. Read through that pile of books building up on your Kindle. Hit the gym and burn off those extra pounds. You’ll thank yourself later.

More Time For Relationships

The strange thing about the Internet is that its inception has improved world communications a hundred times over, yet we’re beginning to falter in our real-life relationships. I was recently out with some friends and, at one point, everyone had their phones whipped out for an extended time. In some ways, the Internet has made us far more asocial.

stop using the internet

Have you ever declined an invite to go out and have fun all because you’d rather stay home and bum around? Not that there’s anything wrong with that–unless it becomes a controlling factor in your life. When sociality goes flying out the window, it may be time to consider taking a break from the Internet.

Catch Up On Sleep

Have you ever sat down at the computer at 9pm with the intention of sleeping at 10pm, only to look up from your computer screen and see that it’s 2am? Of course you have. Even the most disciplined and self-controlled Internet user has experienced the “Oh crap, I need to get to sleep” syndrome.

take a break from internet

If you have a terrible sleeping pattern because of the inordinate amount of time you spend online, then perhaps you should take a break and get that sorted out The 4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Sleep Patterns The 4 Simple Steps To Improve Your Sleep Patterns Read More . A proper sleeping schedule will work wonders for your body, resulting in more energy and less drowsiness. Wake up with the sun and enjoy the sunrise for a change.

Conclusion

The Internet is a great thing, but like all things, it is best in moderation. Internet addiction is a very real thing and it can be hard to spot before it has a controlling grip on your life. If taking a break from the Internet is an idea that makes you quake in the knees and shrivel up in a ball of sweat, then addiction is a real possibility.

Our very own Justin Pot will soon be publishing a featured piece on media consumption and its consequences, including the problem of novelty addiction. It will include interviews with some figures and experts in the field, so keep watch for it. I promise it will be interesting and eye opening.

Image Credit: Sleep Laptop Image Via Shutterstock, Fishing Image Via Shutterstock, Dinner Image Via Shutterstock, Night Computer Image Via Shutterstock, Posture Image Via CartoonChurch.com

  1. Cansrel
    September 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I am using this beneficial app to take a break from facebook. This is the link to the website: http://www.takingabreakapp.com/

  2. Manide
    July 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Bravo! I like the article. In fact, I find it the most zen article on a non-zen site :)
    I really like it. Shared with my friends.
    Thanks for mentioning "Do Nothing For 2 Minutes" website (quite fine) which has directed me to http://www.calm.com/ , fine too.

    • Joel Lee
      July 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you! I just checked out calm.com and it looks awesome. I'm going to use it from now on.

  3. ferdinan Sitohang
    July 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Great article, share it already

    • Joel Lee
      July 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      I appreciate it.

  4. druv vb
    July 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Good article.
    Highlights the importance of one-self when using the Internet or the computer itself.
    This will be shared with every internet addict I know.

    Be it on my phone or computer, I usually use the internet 3-4 hrs every 2 days.
    The remaining time its reading magazines and articles, tweaking hardware accessories, creating stuffs that I need for a day or two, or just waste my time writing quotes and lines in my 6 yrs old notebook and taking photos...

    • Joel Lee
      July 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you. All Internet addicts should know about the benefits of taking a break!

  5. kevin
    June 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks man. I am addicted to the internet. Indeed I feel better whenever I am off it.

  6. Humza
    June 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Wow, this is very inspiring. Makes me want to close this website...for now ;)

  7. slywlf
    June 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Timely - I had been coming to the same conclusion myself over the past couple weeks. About a month and a half ago I took a two week hiatus from Facebook, and when it was over I found far less of a pull - the addiction, or rubbernecker at the scene of the accident is more like it, was snapped. Now I check in if I feel like it, maybe twice a week, but never stay for more than 1/2 hour. It's time to break the stranglehold of email and the web now. As a recent widow it was all too easy to let my senses be numbed by the constant pseudo-activity of e-zines and LOLCats and webcomics and YouTube and...etc. Now, however, I have the excuse of the garden to help me break the addiction and when Autumn arrives I hope to use my arts and crafts and friends to continue keeping me in the real world.

    • Joel Lee
      July 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      Thanks for your response. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that taking a break from the Internet is indeed beneficial in all aspects of life--social, mental, physical, spiritual, and more.

      You hit a good point in your description that Facebook addiction was a way to "let your senses be numbed." That's exactly what novelty addiction is! It's hard, but your story is encouraging. :)

      Glad to hear that you were able to pull away from Facebook and recover a bit. Gardening sounds like a great way to continue. Good luck!

  8. Ben
    June 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I have this habit of downloading (free software) and reading articles on the latest technology. Its something I do daily (mostly the reading part) and, reluctantly, I have to admit it is an addiction. What I did not know is that this condition has a name - Novelty Addiction!

  9. Ravi Meena
    June 30, 2012 at 5:17 am

    what to do when everyone around you is internet addict and no apart from you wants to get out of it.

    • Joel Lee
      July 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Unfortunately, you can't really force anyone to break an addiction. All you can really do is try to show them that their addiction is real and harmful. Change can only begin when people want to change. :(

  10. jessemanalansan
    June 30, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I would agree with this. I always sleep late because of the Internet.

  11. mindianajones
    June 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Well put! Unfortunately, I got to the "popcorn brain" link, clicked over to CNN.com, got pulled into their NewsPulse widget by those fancy red lines, noticed that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were divorcing, and... Wait, where am I? ;-)

    Thanks for the link to 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity. Eye strain is an ongoing annoyance for me, so I'm looking forward to trying those apps.

    • mindianajones
      June 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Whoops, typo. Sorry about that. Article title is linked correctly, at least. (Is there a way to edit our comments?)

      • Joel Lee
        June 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        There is no way to edit your comment as far as I know, but thanks for sharing all the same. Eye strain used to be a big problem for me, too, but taking measures against it has really helped. My headaches are gone now. :)

  12. Kevin Vaillant
    June 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I really need to forward this article to a few people, thanks.

    • Joel Lee
      June 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      You're welcome. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Luis Gomez
    June 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent article, I'll forward to my teenage daughter.

    • Joel Lee
      June 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Great! Hopefully she'll learn a thing or two. :)

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