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Time for a digital detox? Here's how to do it

Last Updated Dec 10, 2014 4:45 PM EST

Connection is a basic human need, but being constantly connected to our technology can make us feel more imprisoned than nourished.

If you're feeling frazzled, a digital detox may be just what the doctor ordered to help calm your mind and soothe your spirit.

Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of the research and consulting firm Ferrazzi Greenlight, has written two best-selling books about networking online and off. Though he champions the benefits of networking, Ferrazzi believes that consciously choosing to unplug can improve relationships and enhance a person's overall well-being.

"I get more energy because I've slept more, and I'm not watching TV. I find I get more perspective," Ferrazzi told CBS News.

Ferrazzi's not the only one who's interested in temporarily disconnecting. A Google search for "digital detox" comes back with over 4 million hits. As more studies come out on the topic, people are realizing that technology overload can hinder real-life social interaction, lower self-esteem, decrease focus and raise stress levels.

"FOMO (fear of missing out) is one of the drivers that people really struggle with today that forces them constantly to grab emails, cell phones, etc.," says Ferrazzi.

"This constant connection makes people reactive, and takes them out of the present moment. It can really harm relationships," he continues.

Rather than shelling out hundreds of dollars for an Internet detox retreat, check out Ferrazzi's do-it-yourself tips for an at-home digital detox.

1. Plan in advance. Ferrazzi says that while a 72-hour detox is best, a simple 24 hours of unplugging can still be helpful. People are more understanding about delayed responses to emails around the holidays, making this the perfect time to get offline. Ferrazzi suggests picking a couple days when you'll be occupied with friends, family or other activities. "Do it on or around Christmas Day. Plan for a time when you're not going to be butting against natural fears and instincts," Ferrazzi suggests.

2. Spread the word. "Get yourself psyched up and tell everyone - post it on social media, make an email alert, change your voicemail," Ferrazzi says. Letting all of your colleagues, friends and loved ones know that you won't be responding to texts or email for a couple of days makes room for you to focus on the people you're seeing in person. Real human interaction generates feel-good endorphins and fosters deeper connections.

3. Add something fun into your life. When you remove your dependence upon digital devices, you may find you have a bit more free time on your hands. "If you want to take this to another level, add in something you're excited about like exercising, going for a walk, having sex, or starting a meditation practice." You can also use this time to stop a harmful habit. "Take your detox to another level by doing something for your health that you may have been thinking about, like quitting sugar or drinking alcohol," says Ferrazzi.

4. Remove temptations. Compulsively checking emails and iPhones has become second nature for most of us. Ferrazzi suggests cleaning your bedroom and removing any technology from this part of your home. Make sure your computer or anything else that's glowing is out of your bedroom and your remote controls are far away. "If you're going on a diet you don't want a chocolate cake sitting in your kitchen. It's the same thing with this," says Ferrazzi.

5. Strategically re-enter the world of digital connection. Returning from your detox may be overwhelming. Ferrazzi suggests using the perspective that you gained in your off time to prioritize thoughtfully all of the things that have backed up. "Before you jump back in, prioritize. You are no longer a slave to your devices - you have the power."

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    Parvati Shallow covers health and wellness for CBSNews.com