This year my sister Sarah told me about a course offered at UW called 'Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives'; and for a January resolution, she decided to interact more mindfully with her phone-- before turning over the phone to check it, she will take a breath.
This class and resolution encouraged me reflect upon how I interact with technology as I'm sure many of you do as you go through your day linked to devices, accounts, media, texts and emails. In one sense, it's pretty amazing that we have these tiny computers we carry everywhere... we have all the information we could ever want or need RIGHT there with us at all times. We can chat and connect with almost anyone immediately. We are NEVER ALONE... dun, dun dunnnnn.
The flip side of this marvelous ability to connect is that we are not often alone with our thoughts either, and rarely do we sit there and just do nothing. Have you noticed this in your life? Do you ever find yourself scrolling and scrolling and thinking, 'I don't really want to be doing this right now'? If you're like me, you may have a love-hate relationship with your devices.
One way to turn this relationship into a more functional one is to start by noticing those moments, and noticing your reactions to your interactions. When you are scrolling or reading, notice the feelings and emotions that arise, label them, and address them. Are you reading something, becoming mad, and then just getting madder as you go? Do you become tense or start holding your breath? What other options are available to you in that moment? And before the urge to read or check something even arises, what options are available to you? Do you stop and notice the urge and then check? Do you stop and notice the urge, and then decide not to check? What new pathway could exist for you in that potent moment? If you ever feel like your device is controlling you, take a step back and see if you can remind yourself where your power resides.
You may even find that taking a 'technology fast' suits you. How long would you like to be unplugged from your devices? What would feel refreshing? What do you have to lose or gain from disengaging? I'd love to hear what you come up with.
I am a lifetime learner and researcher in happy, healthy, fun living.