Now, more than ever before, it’s quite easy to get into a state of overwhelm.
Our world is filled with more stimulus and a never-ending barrage of notifications, updates, ads, and pulls for your attention.
One great quote that helps put our relationship with technology in check, is from one of the ultimate founders of creative technology, Steve Jobs: “We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all.” This statement is packed with truth, and it’s an excellent reminder that we are here to live, not be swallowed up by the virtual worlds of technology and social media.
Creating time in your life to unplug and disconnect is essential to your overall health. Your brain needs a break from constant stimulation, and although technology helps us to stay connected, constant connection is not natural, and can even be harmful. Here are some of the best reasons why we should disconnect on a regular basis:
To live in the present. When we pick up our phone at our dinner table or start sending emails first thing in the day, we’re immediately removing ourselves from the present moment. By stepping away from technology, we are creating the space we need to live fully and completely in the present. It’s hard to truly enjoy the NOW while also tweeting, posting, and texting. We only get one life, and it’s best to enjoy the present moment as much as we possibly can.
To make space for creation. When we are constantly plugged into technology, we’re in a state of consumption. In order to be able to create, we need to unplug and let ourselves enter the flow of creativity. If we’re constantly bombarding our brains with information, we won’t have the mental capacity to create.
To find solitude. One of the keys to long-lasting health and longevity is seeking solitude and stillness. In our always-connected world, it can take real effort to find peaceful moments of alone time for yourself. Putting your phone down and your laptop away allow you to spend time with just yourself. Start by scheduling one hour of solitude per week, and watch a greater sense of calm and centeredness enter your life.
To reduce urgency. In the world of emails and texts, things that are not urgent can be an emergency. There’s always going to be a breaking news update or a project that needs attention or an email that needs a reply. But it’s important to take a step back and remember what is truly urgent, and what can wait. When we unplug, we regain a sense of harmony and balance that lets us see where we should focus our attention first.
To reduce negative feelings. Social media is wonderful for helping us build connections with friends, family, and other like-minded people. But it also has a downside too. It can foster a method for comparison and create feelings of jealousy, or fear of missing out, or even, loneliness. Life goes in stages, and most people only post their happiest, best versions of themselves on social media. It can be hard to remain grounded in reality and easy to slip into the trap of comparison and envy. The best solution is to limit your time spent on social media channels and only follow people and accounts that make you feel good and lift you up.
To give yourself a break. One of the best things you can do is to choose an extended period of time when you will take a conscious break from technology. Think of it as an unplugging vacation. By setting this time aside and consciously sticking to it, you will get to feel what life without the constant barrage of technology feels like. And it will be easier for you to adapt some unplugging strategies into your everyday life. Taking a technology-free vacation, whether at home or on a retreat, is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.