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Lessons learned by a digital detox: The Art of doing not doing.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch a “real” “live” sporting event in this un-presented time we are living in. I must also preface this with being in the midst of the digital detox group workshop I am running and my own inter work around digital detoxing from devices.

There it was -10 people looking at their phone all the while the children they came to watch were doing their thing. I shit you not. 10 of 10 people lost in a device. And three questions then occurred to me. Rather ran right through my head like a fright train.

1) Are they present at the event they came to “watch”?

2) Are we as a culture pulled so much to consume and continue to inhale information that there is no time to do anything else. No time to patiently wait at the check-out line without checking your latest snap feed to see what your friends eat. No time to process your thoughts quietly on a walk without a podcast dumping more information into your psyche and by all means the largest tragedy ignoring our child as they play at the park, participate in their sports only to find out all the Doom Scrolling ™ around the political climate we are living in gives us the answers we already are aware of.

3) Have we forgotten the art of doing not doing? I will explain more…

Let’s dig deeper.

Are we present? Being present means fully enjoying the moment that you are in. It is the moment when you are calm and you know exactly what you want. You are focused on what you're doing without thinking about anything else.

Being lost in our devices can become so distracting that we forget the joys and purpose in life.

Quick mindful exercises:

· What’s the motivation or intention of what I am doing?

· Avoid multitasking.

· Breath.

· Create a mindful practice. Writing, walking, hiking.

· Get into your body. Do you feel connected?

· Feel your feelings.

· Take a moment and confirm what your doing. Are you aware your driving?

· Step away from the phone when you’re doing something. You don’t need to take the picture, experience the experience.

Are we a culture pulled to consume more?

To answer this let me start by sharing some startling information. No matter if you are in the midst of a pornography addiction or consumed by the world of news outlet downloads or locked into your social media accounts, consider this as a wake up call. Today we as a culture are spending an average of 3 hours and 30 minutes a day on our telephones turned computers being used for news and social media outlets.

So what can we do?

We can begin to excavate our buried dreams. This is a tricky process. Some of our dreams are very volatile, and the mere act of brushing off our desires and dreams can send a gargantuan surge of denial or fear of getting what we have been looking at on social media. You can actually take the information you have consumed and do something with it. Let’s not get lost in someone’s desires or dreams.

To pull us out of the culture of consuming, simply create.

Stop telling yourself:

· “I need more information before I can do it”

· “I need to be better at it before I can do it.”

· Stop waiting till you have enough energy to do it. Start small.

· Stop saying, “It’s not time yet.”

As you learn to step away from collecting and start nurturing and protecting your inner creator, you will move beyond the prison of consuming. You will be both present and a participant in your life.

Excuse me… What did you say, “The art of doing not doing”

In order to retrieve your life back, consider doing not doing. DO NOTHING! Put it simply anytime you grab your phone because you are getting the urge: stop, breath and witness. Another version of being present.

One of the most difficult tasks detoxing digitally can encounter is being comfortable doing nothing.

The gains of doing nothing:

· “Ah ha” moments. Spontaneous internal answers.

· Awareness of your body.

· Blasting through personal blocks.

· Being more alert to our senses.

· Patience brings peace.

All too often, we think of ease. Consider stepping away from your phone as ease. Watch the events, listen to your thoughts, and be ok with creating not consuming.

Consider setting the phone down for a while. Be gentle.

Dr. Ryan Westrum is a clinical psychologist and licensed therapist that specializes in working with sex addiction, pornography addiction and digitally detoxing from technology. You can connect by emailing or by going to


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