Return to happy: Disconnect from your phone once every day

Staying connected is a big part of our day-to-day life, no surprise there.

But what is interesting is how our emotional state seems to be linked to our gadgets. 

Think of the time you left your phone at home and you will agree what I'm saying is true.

I did an experiment some time back.

I packed a backpack and went into the jungle for three days, alone.

wanted to get reacquainted with life before smartphones.

The deeper I hiked that morning, the more bars on my phone disappeared.

Finally, I turned it off, took a deep breath, and continued until I reached my campsite.

The first day went by quickly - I cut up bamboo to build a shelter and I started a fire when darkness came.

It got dark at about 7pm and I was really tired by then.

I didn't think about my phone until bedtime so I switched it on just to confirm that there wasn't any line; there wasn't.

I drifted off to sleep soon after, surrounded by chirping insects and hooting birds, and dreamt of the Facebook status that could have been.

The next day, I improved the shelter and went looking for firewood. 

I have to admit, it can get a little lonely during idle moments so I kept myself busy. 

I made a better sleeping area and weaved a thatched roof.

Evening came and I sat by a river eating my dinner. 

I watched the water, studied the butterfly that had landed on my jeans and admired my surroundings.

At that moment I felt like I could live here, unplugged from the rest of the world. It was a good feeling, a happy feeling, liberating even.

I felt a little sorry breaking camp and leaving on the last day.

I turned on my phone at trailhead and as the messages came in, I thought about being disconnected.

While we don't need to go into the wilderness to disconnect, turning off the phone for a couple of hours every day may be good practice.

There is, in fact, research behind it.

Breaking the work/home barrier can give our minds some downtime, says a study published online in the National Institutes Of Health.

This detachment can help us to temporarily forget petty annoyances at the office and the stress that comes from our work demands.

Taking a break from our phones also gives us time to do things that add creativity and fun into our lives - sign up for a cooking class, learn a new language and yes, go hiking.

A study from PLOS One found that those who hiked and were unplugged from their gadgets were 50 per cent more creative and enjoyed more physical and mental well-being.

Admittedly, it can be difficult, even unsettling, when we disconnect initially, but the practice may pay off.

Think about it, we may no longer need emoticons to show how happy we really feel.