The pill to help you chill — how to disappear from the electronic world

Irony alert: Blissful Waikiki sunset … shot with an iPhone.

Hello fellow technology addicts. Before we kick off our session, I’d like to recognize Kyle for reaching 11 days of no electronic gadgets. Kyle made the commitment to go technology-free and he stuck to it. I’m really proud of him.

I’d like to ask Kyle to come up and say a few words and tell us how he did it. Unfortunately, Kyle is in a coma, which, now that I think about it, might have made his switch to going without his gadgets a little easier.

Ahem.

The desire to go technology-free is a real thing. There are actual, real-live support groups to assist gadget addicts. Sound like you?

If your iPhone, iPad, Galaxy S6, IZON, Nyrius Aries or four-plus email accounts are running and ruining your life, you may be a technology addict. If you’re not as strategic and dedicated as Kyle, you might have a tough time divorcing yourself from unhealthy tech relationships.

Tech addiction can come in many forms — computers, tablets, smartphones — but the signs are recognizable: blurry vision, fatigue, headaches, distracted driving, sleep disruption, muffin-top, numb butt, short attention sp … ooh look! A new GIF! … Stink-eye from your in-person interactors, uh, I mean, people.

If your real-life is suffering because of a technology addiction, try a few short-term — or more drastic — strategies to change course.

Shut. Them. Off.

Make a commitment to shut off all your screens for a defined period of time. No, sleeping doesn’t count, but you should make a point to shut off screens an hour or more before going to sleep (your sleep cycles will thank you). It can be for an evening or it can be for the duration of an in-person event that keeps you engaged.

Resist the urge to jump back in to the tech world immediately after your moratorium ends. Play a little game with yourself and see if you can hold out for one more hour. If you cannot, that is a strong indication that your addiction is deeper than you thought.

If you doubt your will power, there’s an app for that. The well-reviewed and endorsed Freedom can get you free from any kind of networking distractions for a specified period of time. Clearly, you are not alone in the overwhelming technology wilderness.

Make it a regular thing

Plan to make tech-free stretches of time a regular thing. Resist the temptation to give yourself credit for times when you would be forced to hand over your smartphone without making the choice willingly. Take those times, extend them, and make them regular components in your schedule. Do the same for your children and other loved ones. Getting back in touch with your physical self will not only shake you out of your tech patterns but will provide myriad other mental and physical health benefits that will make a stronger you.

Dare to try something new

Resolve to not be the same “you” you were a week ago. Do something outside of your comfort zone. Since you are so very comfy with your gadget(s) in-hand or nearby, the only criteria is do something that you cannot do with your gadget. The whole rest of the world opens up to you. Invite one or more other persons to make it more social and to keep you committed.

The permanent solution

If you’re in crisis mode — if, for instance, your reputation is in need of a complete rehabilitation — take these steps:

Kill your social media accounts

Chances are most search engine results are tied to your major social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+. Your first step for successful reputation surgery is to cut out those accounts. It won’t have an immediate effect, however. Here is a handy set of links to get you off social media.

Remove or bury bad search results

You can actually have a say in what Google or Bing says about you. You can get results wiped away — sometimes. Send a request to Google or Bing to have an offending link removed and ask them to re-index the URL.
You can also bury negative results by creating more pages, websites and new social profile accounts that are favorable or neutral. With enough of them, any offending result will get pushed down the SERP more and more over time. You can also use a paid service like DeleteMe to remove items that you may not have been successful in removing on your own.

Attack background checks

If you need to reverse information made available about you in background checks and public record searches, you first have to know what’s in them. Use Zabasearch, Intelius, Spokeo and Pipl to know what can be found about you.

Yes, Kyle took the easy way out. You may have to work at it a little harder, but it is possible — and probably highly advisable — that you unplug and relax. Your body, your mind, your friends and your coworkers will appreciate the new and improved you.

An earlier version of this article was originally produced for Androsform.com

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