Are you overly connected?

Are you overly connected?

I remember a day when if the phone rang and you weren’t home, nobody answered.  I remember a day when mail didn’t have an “e” in front of it.  I remember a day when text was a noun.

Like almost everyone else, I have cell phone.  I have email, Facebook, and twitter on my phone along with unlimited text service.  My phone is happy to notify me each time I get a new message or email with both symbol and a sound.  Yes, I can turn them off but maybe I would miss something!  And when I’m at home, there is also my computer with all those same “apps”, and more, on my Favorites Bar.  It is in my office where I can work “undisturbed” which in truth is “isolated”.

I’ve been caught up in being always connected and the sense that I need to know now!  Sometimes I think of my phone as a whining child (an analogy coined by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, of Stanford University expert on technology and distraction.) What a great description! And just like a whining child, my phone sometimes needs to go into time-out! And my computer is not my friend either. I can’t go to bed without checking Facebook “one last time”!

And what are the effects of this hyper-connectivity? “When you are at a computer, reacting to things, wondering if things are happening, there is a chronic vigilance, a feeling always being on the edge of your seat,” says Neema Moraveji, director of the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University.  Dr. William Cole, a functional medicine practitioner, writes “Our modern lives can be so busy and hectic sometimes that the lack of “breathing room” increases our stress and negatively impacts our health. It can also hurt the most important aspect of our lives — our relationships.”

In other words, you are in constant state of STRESS!  And we know what the health effects of stress are – weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, headaches, tummy trouble, and an overall feeling of tension in all your muscles.

Have you ever been to lunch or dinner with someone who is constantly checking their phone?  How does it feel? Our constant connection interferes with our real life relationships and distracts from our ability to enjoy another person.  It inhibits intimacy and connection – besides being just plain RUDE.

I have found that it is important for me to UNPLUG on a regular basis.

  • I NEVER take my phone in to the gym with me – my old nano provides me with both music and a timer.
  • I leave my phone in my purse and on silent when I go out to a social event.
  • No Candy Crush for me – I’m trying to cut back on sugar!
  • I don’t keep my phone by my bed.

Just in writing this post, I’m realizing that, despite my efforts, my phone and computer are still managing me rather than my managing them! I am going to start by making One Little change.

I will turn off the phone and the computer at 8 pm every night to connect with my family every evening and unwind from connection stress!

I’m ready!  How about you?  Join the UNPLUG challenge!  Let me know how it goes!

unplug

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