Disconnect or Connect?

If you cross the street looking at your Iphone, it may be time to disconnect.

84% of cellphone users say they could not go one single day without their device. 67 % of cell phone users check for messages, even when they are not expecting one. Studies show we check our phones every 6.5 minutes on average. 88% of cell phone users are looking at their phone while watching tv. 1/2 of cellphone users say they sleep with their phones, because they don’t want to miss anything. 3/4 of the population in US have cellphones.

I’m not against technology. I actually think it is great , like most things, in moderation. Using our technology responsibly can actually improve our stress levels, and I would never argue about using technology responsibly.  We have to take measures to be sure we are in control of the technology, rather than it controlling us.

Research has shown if we don’t connect for the first hour of our day, the anxiety we experience during the day is less. If we eliminate technology the first hour of the day, we determine how our day goes, rather than reacting to how others want us to spend our day. Henry Beecher says the first hour in our day is the rudder of the day. Spend it wisely, disconnected from all technology.

No matter where we are , we can message someone in almost anywhere in the world now. This can be convenient, yes. Unless we are so lost in our online life, that we forget to live our real lives. Checking our phones now has the same sort of  contagion as  yawning, for most of us.

Research shows if we can take breaks from our devices during the day, we can become more focused. Taking a walk outside with no technology with us is even more beneficial. Disconnecting from technology one hour before bedtime is known to improve our sleep. Viewing technology for the hour before bedtime, stimulates our brains and interrupts our sleep. At night when we sleep is when our brain heals from the anxiety of the day, hmm, I wonder if there is a correlation between this and anxiety being our number one mental illness ?

There are several things we can do to insure we are the boss of our phone, and it is not the boss of us. We can have a designated no screen time, and use this time to read, engage in person with friends or go to an art gallery. Not selfies allowed.

We can turn off our push notifications, as this sort of distraction is known to increase anxiety. We absolutely don’t have to be connected every single second. If you feel that is too difficult, you might need to rethink your phone use.  The psychology world has labeled this FOMO. Fear of being left out. Powering down our phones eliminates FOMO.

The personality profile that most needs to monitor phone use, is the person with low self esteem, poor impulse control and a tendency toward addiction. These people don’t typically realize the addiction is present , until they are without their devices. They report powering down their phones helps eliminate jealousy, envy and lonliness, due to not comparing themselves to others on social media when using their phones.

So could it be that disconnecting can in fact support strong connections ? Can we possibly live a fuller life if we disconnect? It’s all about balance, and we should approach our tech life, like other things we want to control and make work for us ,rather than against us. Everything will work again if you unplug it, including you. -Anne Lamott.