Technology- wow. It is amazing. I can skype with my staff weekly even though we are not located in a central location. On a long trip I can literally see my love, even if she’s 11 hours away. I can keep in touch with my family, automate parts of my work, take amazing pics and videos with my phone (this still blows me away!), plan events, stay up on news I’m interested in, get inspired daily by quotes and images, watch all kinds of selective and specific programming tailored to my interests, talk to celebrities, answer questions as soon as they come up, and stay connected to people in ways I never even imagined as a child. It’s wild. If not for technology I wouldn’t be writin’ this here blog.
Wild! There are so many things I love about technology.
And it has a downside. A few of them, actually.
It can encourage dissociation, isolation, depression, and feelings of worthlessness. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that sometimes, if I’m not careful, I’ll reach for technology to distract myself from myself (from feelings of loneliness, disconnection, etc) or to procrastinate doing something uncomfortable (like an important work project that’s slightly outside my comfort zone). Sure, technology is not the only way I can distract myself, but because it’s soooooo available, it’s much easier to reach for. I’ll check my email, get lost in facebook, watch videos, or text or call people. The phone is right there. The screen is right there, with all of it’s shiny colors, notifications, and new operating systems, beckoning, calling me to press a button. Have you seen the recent interview with Louis CK? – when I saw it I nearly cried, because he described exactly what I’m talkin’ about.It also encourages anxiety. The more there is to see and do, the more I see and do, and the more I think I have to see and do. And that produces a low-level of anxiety that I’m often not even conscious of until I unplug long enough to notice that I’ve been feeling anxious, more irritable, agro. It’s similar to the anxious feeling I get when I watch too many war movies, or drink too much caffeine.So here’s some of what I do my best to implement for myself to stay balanced in digitally overwhelming times:
1. Check email and facebook only once or twice a day – No using my smart phone to constantly reply to notifications and new messages
2. Turn the phone ringer/alerts off when I’m working on a project
3. Multitask as little as possible (see my post on doing one thing at a time)
4. Stay on a structured eating and sleeping schedule as much as possible- the more nourished I am physically the better I feel emotionally. When I feel better emotionally I’m less likely to seek dissociative behavior.
5. Engage in regular spiritual practice. EVERYDAY. For me this includes regular mediation, Reiki , yoga, exercise, and walks in nature. I need consistant and regular antidotes to overengagement with technology. I need real, daily time to unplug, come home to myself (my feelings and my body), feel connected to something bigger, and relax.
I’d love to hear your suggestions too. Do any of these resonate with you or am I just a sensitive lass? Do you have other suggestions? Concerns? Opinions? Let me know what works for you and what happens when you try any of these suggestions for yourself. I find it takes really consistent dedication and effort to stick to them, inspite of the fact that the benefit is tangible to me right away.