THE BLOG
05/06/2014 12:43 pm ET Updated Jul 06, 2014

Arianna Huffington and My Forced Digital Detox

Nisian Hughes via Getty Images

Thursday night, Thrive Conference: I am sitting in the audience listening to Arianna Huffington talk about the perils of being over-connected to our smart phones and devices. I am nodding my head in agreement and thinking: This is just what I teach my clients and discuss with my friends. She shared how important it is to have real downtime: time for relationships and time to just nurture yourself and be present without distractions.

Well, easier said than done. On the way home (even though she recommended that we not check our phones), I checked my emails and messages. I was beginning to get the feeling that this is an addiction.

When I got back to my apartment, I opened my purse to take out my phone and discovered, to my horror, that it was swimming in a pool of water. My water bottle had opened and drowned my phone. In a panic, I went online and discovered I needed to put the phone in a bag of rice for at least 24 to 48 hours. This is supposed to dry it out, but it didn't!

Friday morning, my phone was still dead. I called my friends from my landline to let them know about the situation and to make plans to meet for lunch. I changed my voicemail messages on my cell phone and landline telling people my cell was dead. I felt compelled to share this news with everyone, just in case some one was trying to reach me... how crazy is that?

I went back to the conference feeling isolated, alone and anxious. In reality, I was surrounded by over a 1,000 people, many of them my friends. The irony did not escape me. Like Cindi Lieve, former editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, said about her own digital detox, "I experienced 'phantom-phone syndrome,' the constant urge during any spare second of time to reach for my small, rectangular best friend." I noticed that everyone was glued to their phones -- tweeting, taking photos, Facebooking, Instagramming and sending emails -- during the conference.

It took four days before I got my phone back. It's amazing how creative you get without relying on your phone. Yes, there were times when I felt a moment's panic. For example, when I met with my friend for dinner and she was 15 minutes late, I just had to wait and trust she would show up -- she did!

Looking back over this time, I realize that I actually experienced and enjoyed JOMO (joy of missing out). I slept better, felt more present with life and actually had better conversations with my family and friends.

Thank you, Arianna!

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