Lunch conversations in 2015. Word Press Image.
Why Unplugging From Technology Is Crucial For Your Health
Quite often I find myself thinking “I was born in the wrong generation” or “I wish I didn’t have to worry about X,Y and Z, as a result of the technology that we have”. I act like it is a major inconvenience to me, because I feel as if I’m expected to be on the social grid 24/7. I really need to work on my attitude about such technological advances, as I’m a little quick to jump the gun when it doesn’t work to my own personal advantage. So the question is… How do you use technology in a positive way, but not let it take over your life?
Many of us heavily rely on iPads, computers, phones and other sources of communication or electronics to increase our workplace productivity or just day to day life. Even our cars can search the internet, help us conduct conference calls and produce WIFI signals at a touch of a button. Our cell phones let others know where we are or push emails onto our phones 24 hours a day, so that we can essentially work all hours of the day and give immediate responses. In our home or on the weekends, which generally is thought of as “off the clock hours”, it is all too common for each person at the dinner table to be emailing a professor, texting a friend or conducting business. Going out to eat, it is rare to find a table without a cellphone on it. We all are so technologically connected, that in many ways, it is extremely hurtful to our health and wellbeing.
1) It creates a need to always know or see what others are doing. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be great platforms to stay in touch with far off relatives and college friends. However, we often find ourselves so engrossed in what others are doing that we forget to live ourselves. Many of us work extremely hard for the life we have created for ourselves and families, yet always checking in and up on others can leave us with a spirit of jealousy and the feeling of being alone. The expression “keeping up with the Jones” is very real and true. Staying off of social media or resisting the urge to post something, frequently, allows us the opportunity and privilege to appreciate what we have and live in the moment, rather than getting caught in others’ business or how many likes we can get.
2) It masks what is really going on in our lives and hurts the creative process. Every one of us has a story, depth, hopes and dreams that need to be periodically checked into. It is not always the prettiest process of taking a hard look at the person we are and the direction that we are heading. Via technology we are able to filter every aspect of our lives, allowing others to see what we want them to see. In many cases this is easier than using that time to evaluate where we are, or what I like to call ‘getting under the hood of the car’. Getting to know ourselves is so crucial and important at any stage of life. A wonderful way to do this is expressing ourselves and using our creativity to tap into the depth of who we are.
3) It doesn’t allow us to enjoy those directly with us. When we constantly have our phone in our hands or our computer in our laps, we are taking those around us for granted. Life is about relationships. The relationship with ourselves and the relationship with those in the community we have built. We are not always given the luxury to be an arms length away from our loved ones and this is were technology gives us that gift, however it will never be the same as direct face-to-face and eye-to-eye interaction. So much of our joy comes from these direct relationships, as they can open our eyes to new experiences and allow us true and deep love. We are enriched by these relationships, so make time for them!
Here are a few ways to unwind from technology, to help renew your spirt, mind and body. It will allow you to connect with those around you, actually smell the roses and relax.
1) Prioritize your time at work, so that you don’t have to take it home with you. Many of use find that we take work stresses home with us, whether it is making the final touches on a project, working on an expense report or answering emails. If we (myself included!!) allow ourself the time and opportunity to work more efficiently in the office, then this will cut down what we bring home.
2) When you walk in the door, say your hello’s and then go place your phone on the charger. Allow it to remain there untouched for a while. This gives you time to interact, undisturbed, with those around you. Now, it is not totally realistic to not use your phone for the entire evening, however, giving yourself and your nearest and dearest quality time, gives your mind and heart, the rest and love it needs.
3) By giving your children the example of not needing to be constantly attached to technology. Children are extremely impressionable and in many ways learn their behavior and social norms from their parents/guardians. Hopefully they will see that the evenings are a time for bonding and the importance of interpersonal relationships. This could mean no TV during the week days, playing board games after dinner or going on a walk in the evenings.
4) Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress, promote healthy living and improve sleep patterns. You could use this time as what I like to call “me time”, where I recharge and focus on myself or engaging in activity with friends and family. I am on a recreational Kickball team and I use that time to laugh and spend time with others, while enjoying the outdoors. Maybe as a family or roommates, you could train for a mini-team triathlon, where each person participates in one of the events.
5) When going out to eat, purposely leave your phone in the car or at home. Let those that you are with feel that they are important and giving them your full and undivided attention. If you are eating alone, take a book and read, rather than watch TV. Use your brain in an engaging way!
Technology is a great tool and has given us numerous advances, but it is important to not let it take over who we are and get allow us to get lost. Giving yourself and brain (and eyes!!) a break from the screens, allow you to recharge and appreciate the beauty around you. Don’t forget to see the wonderful things and people just mere steps away, as that is what will give you the greatest fulfillment! We, at Sixth Sense Health and Wellness Center, encourage you to join us and make a pledge to yourself and those around to ‘unplug’ from the technological world for a few hours a day. Allowing yourself to unwind and enjoy your surroundings, away from the stress that technology brings.