Why is it that we live in a world where we crave control and don’t want to be told what to do, yet we let our devices rule us? Technology is seductive. It flirts with us constantly, creating an insatiable desire for more stimulus, entertainment and information. In today’s world where most of us are in a continual state of partial attention, we crave connection. Technology provides that. So it’s easy to get hooked. The fact of life today is that we need technology – we can’t just say good-bye – so we have to set boundaries. To change our relationship from going steady back to friends. It can be a challenge, but using the three steps below can help you develop a healthy relationship with technology and a more meaningful life:
Just like any relationship that is smothering us, we have to find small ways to regain our independence, like creating time alone (without our phone or internet), with space to breathe. And when we do, we remember how freeing “me” time is, how it makes us a better person in the long run: less emotionally reactive, calmer and more accepting of others.
Plan times to be unplugged with partner and family and stick with it. Limit social media time. Be mindful of distractions and disciplined enough to not look at the screen, but at the faces before you, so you can engage in meaningful conversations and practice deep listening skills.
Step Three: Establish New Rituals
Stop responding immediately to texts or emails, and people will not expect you to always be available. Budget the time you send and read: Cut back to every ½ hour/hourly/3 times a day when possible. Disconnect after sunset. Resist the technology temptress by staying unplugged with your first cup of coffee and plug-in to the world around you. Be in nature every day at least 15 minutes to awaken your senses. Take a weekly tech cleanse: Disconnect all day or check-in only 1-2x. Get out of auto-pilot as you perform daily routines to develop appreciation for the simple things of life. Learn to “just be:” Instead of playing with your phone, sit and focus on your breath. Challenge yourself physically to kick in those endorphins that will replace any tech cravings you may experience.
We are an internet-centric society. Technology and distractions surround us everyday. Don’t let smart phones dumb you down and numb you out. Make friends with technology, not love.
To learn more about mindfulness read “Twelve Mindful Months: Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit” by Carol Tibbetts