Why Technology’s Take-Over Is Dangerous To Your Life, And How To Take Back Control
Technology is a staple in the modern world, and is often required for various jobs to be performed. However, with the plethora of apps readily available at our fingertips, we face a dilemma that previous generations never had to deal with or consider.
Today, we are constantly bombarded with information overload, and the ramifications are tangible. Feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, along with jealousy, loneliness, and comparison between ourselves and others are just some of the symptoms people face when they are constantly “plugged-in” to social media and other online/screen resources.
The truth is, even if technology is required for our job, there aren’t many of us that limit our tech time to just business hours. It is not uncommon to see people on their phones at stop lights, in the grocery line, waiting in the doctors office, and even in the bathroom. It seems that we can hardly stand any down-time without filling that time with our faces in front of a screen.
Now more than ever, it is crucial that you make a point of getting “unplugged” often so that you can ground yourself in reality and regain a healthy perspective. By doing so you can combat the negative effects mentioned above and instead cultivate feelings of gratitude, joy, peace, and the benefits don’t stop there! Cutting down your screen time may also help boost creativity, and will allow you to engage in real interaction and build true, meaningful relationships.
How do we pry ourselves away from our technology to really reap the benefits of being unplugged? Here are a few things that will help…
Don’t engage with your tech for the first hour of the day
Many people start their day by grabbing their phone and browsing through their email and social media channels, often before they’ve even stepped foot outside of their bed. Break this habit by using a regular alarm clock to wake you up, and staying detached from your phone, computer, tv, iPad, etc. for the first hour of the day.
Better ways to use that time than being online? Drink a glass of lemon water, go for a walk, stretch, write in a journal, take time to eat a healthy breakfast, etc.
Being intentional with the first hour of your day will set an important mental and emotional tone that will carry you through the rest of the day. Rather than allowing emails and online posts from others to start pulling your mind in different directions, you can dictate how you will start the day.
Set time during the day to power down
Just as it is important to start your day without technology, it’s important to give yourself regular breaks throughout the day as well. Commit to not touching your phone during your lunch break, and instead eat outside or grab lunch with a friend (and when you’re with that friend, play a game by putting your phones away and saying that anyone that touches their phone during lunch picks up the bill).
Another great option is to power down all technology an hour before bed, and end your day like you began it. Stretch, reflect on the day, enjoy a walk outside, engage face to face with a friend or loved one, etc. You’ll find that it’s easier to fall asleep when your mind isn’t distracted by information overload right before you lay down.
Take a regular “technology fast”
To really reap the benefits of being unplugged, you should go beyond just the minimal daily suggestions and try to commit to a day each week or month that you are completely unplugged from technology. Even better, plan a vacation where you will remain unplugged the entire time.
Practicing this will not only exercise your self-control, but will also provide opportunities to explore new things that you may have missed out on had you spent that time staring at your phone (for example, you may visit a new location, pick up a new hobby, build a new friendship, find a new weekend ritual that you enjoy, etc.).
It may be difficult at first, but the more mindful you become of your relationship with technology, the better you will be able to implement change and improve your life.