Do you respond to the beep, ping, rattle and shake of your gadgets on command? You may be suffering from digital distress -- or maybe even a case of Social Media Anxiety Disorder -- and you might be in need of a digital purge.

Sound like something you could benefit from? This Friday, March 1, marks the fourth annual National Day of Unplugging. Participants around the country can pledge to unplug from their digital crutches for a full 24 hours -- from sunset to sunset -- while experiencing the forgotten art of being present.

Why unplug? “We’ve reached a point where all of our technological devices are using us, rather than the other way around,” Gemini Adams, author of “The Facebook Diet” (coming out April 2013) told The Huffington Post. “Technology has come into our life so quickly that we haven’t had the time to make conscious choices about how to use it.” Adams says that having a national call to unplug is “brilliant,” as the day gives people a taste of what life would be like if we actually had clear digital boundaries.

Who can benefit from this day? Anyone who Instagrams their hardboiled eggs, experiences those freaky phantom cell phone vibrations or just wants time to connect with friends the old-fashioned, in-person way.

On the flip side, the National Day of Unplugging will shed light on how challenging it is to unplug, Adams points out, because it will lead us to "realize how pervasive technology is in our lives.” We no longer rely on rolodexes (this, in case you're in the dark) or the Yellow Pages -- all of our information has been digitized.

Adams, who goes on digital detoxes regularly, says it's important to plan ahead to avoid feeling lost on your day of disconnect. How? Book anything you want to do (whether it’s getting a massage or going to the movies) before you unplug. Remember that if you’re meeting up with someone, you should know the exact location and time. And, maybe most importantly, plan to be reliable. There’s no texting “running l8 -- be there in 5” on a day you choose to unplug. Your presence is gold.

The practice of unplugging should not be reserved for a single day of the year. Adams says unplugging every now and again can help you be more productive at work, generally focused and more in touch with the people you love. While realistically, most of us can’t fully unplug for long stretches of time, there are ways to practice a more mindful approach to tech in your day-to-day life:

  • Choose your favorite form of communication and stick to it.
    “There are so many forms of communication available to us that there is a lot of miscommunication going on -- some people prefer to use email while others want to use Facebook,” Adams says. These numerous platforms can get confusing and can turn what is supposed to be faster forms of getting in touch into inefficient ones (how many times have you forgotten to respond to a Facebook message?). Consider drafting up a statement in your outbound email that clarifies how you like to be in touch -- you can even include the times you plan to be off the grid. “We’re not supposed to be available 24/7, so it’s OK to say that you’re not.” Being unavailable at times, Adams says, “is an extremely healthy and positive practice."
  • Design a method to the madness.
    Keep a log of all the voicemails, emails and messages you receive throughout the day, and plan to respond to them during a designated time you schedule on your calendar. Carving out a specific stretch to respond to these will ensure you’re not being dragged away from the tasks you’re trying to accomplish -- and, without the distraction, “you’ll get those tasks completed in half the time,” Adams says.
  • Make being present collaborative (and fun).
    Make a group mini-pledge to stay off your phones -- the time you spend with your friends will really count. Adams suggests phone stacking: Have your pals stack their phones in the middle of the table and enjoy the live conversation, food (of which there will be no Instagramming) and eye contact. First person to reach for the phone picks up the tab.

So, are you unplugging this Friday? Have you implemented any of these digitally conscious techniques in the past? Let us know how you’ll be spending your tech-free day and check in (after Saturday, of course!) to tell us about the experience.

Make sure to join our “Social Media Anxiety Disorder” Twitter chat before you unplug. It's happening this Friday, March 1 at 12 p.m. ET. We'll be tweeting from @HealthyLiving and @GPSforSoul with the hashtag #SMAD.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Cook Yourself Up A Luxurious Brunch

    You deserve a breakfast that doesn't come shrink-wrapped every now and again, and cooking it yourself will make it all the more scrumptious. (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/egg-recipes-breakfast-brunch_n_987844.html">Get some <em>egg</em>cellent inspiration, here.</a>)

  • Write A Note Of Gratitude To Your Best Friend

    ...when it <em>isn't</em> her birthday. Make a list of all the reasons she earns the title of BFF: She'll feel appreciated and grateful to have <em>you</em> in her life, and writing it will remind you how lucky you are to have her, too.

  • Get Moving

    Lace up your sneaks, leash up your love and GO. No matter how you decide to move, choose to leave your cell at home -- grant yourself this time to be present with <em>your own</em> thoughts, and not the thoughts of the Twittersphere.

  • Take A Nap

    You'll wake up refreshed and ready to tackle any problem that seemed impossible pre-snooze. (Want to take a nap at work? We're all for it! <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/how-to-nap-at-work_n_1232352.html">Find some tips, here.</a>)

  • Get Lost In Your City

    Google Maps has saved your life again and again, but it's dulled the wonders of wandering. Why not take a break from knowing where you're going and instead explore the undiscovered?

  • Ritualize Your Morning Cup Of Joe

    For a lot of us, our A.M. cup of coffee blends into the frantic "routine" of getting to work on time. Consider setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier to enjoy every aspect of your delicious morning ritual. (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ora-nadrich/meditation-practice_b_2114526.html">Some tips to turn your morning cup of coffee into a meditation -- it works for tea, too!</a>)

  • Sit Like This

    Maybe you don't have time to unplug today. Fine. What about five minutes to sit? Good. Get yourself in this postion -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/stress-tips-yoga-poses_n_2736129.html?utm_hp_ref=gps-for-the-soul&ir=GPS%20for%20the%20Soul">Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall</a> -- for just five minutes and feel the stress of the day evaporate.

  • Take An Art Class

    Remember when Art was your favorite subject in school? Relive that release of creativity. (Sampling the Elmer's Glue is not encouraged.)

  • Take A Page From Your Grandmother's Recipe Book

    Try crafting a meal from your roots, whether it's from a page of your Grandma's passed-down recipe book or the extravagant birthday dinner your dad used to cook you as a kid. One rule: No looking up the steps online!

  • Read A Book

    Preferably one with pages that you turn, not tap.

  • Dig Through Some Childhood Memorabilia

    Dust off those boxes of fourth grade genius: No one could compete with your report on Ulysses S. Grant (or so said your No. 1 fan: Mom). Revel in that fantastic feeling of nostalgia -- you are sure to find some gems!

  • Take A Bath

    It won't be long until waterproof phones become the norm. For now, light a candle and take a nice, long tech-free soak -- you'll emerge <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/bath-bomb-recipe_n_2431955.html">relaxed</a> and peaceful.

  • Feed The Ducks

    Talk about appreciating the present moment: Those ducks won't ignore you for their Instagram feed. You'll get their full attention in exchange for a little bread.

  • Declutter

    Pick a space in your home and get organized. Doing a bit of a home-cleanse will help you feel <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophie-keller/declutter-home-cleanse_b_1166467.html">less chaotic on the inside</a>.

  • Write Stream Of Consciousness

    Whip out a pen and start scribbling -- you might be surprised to see all that's on your mind, without the interruptions and distractions from your external gadgets.

  • People Watch

    Pick a crowded part of town and observe: People are always up to curious things that you won't notice unless your head's up!

  • Host A Phone-Free Potluck

    Gather your gang for a night of culinary joy -- everyone should bring a dish, but leave their cells behind.

  • Volunteer

    Spend some time doing something good for someone else -- you'll reap the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-cole/volunteering-health_b_2189477.html">many benefits of altruism</a>, and maybe even dig up a new hobby.

  • Play A Board Game

    Just because they recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/monopoly-cat-piece_n_2629561.html">swapped the iconic iron piece for a cat </a>doesn't mean your favorite classics aren't worth a revisit.

  • Related Video: The Doctors' 48-Hour Technology Detox