Mindful technology use

After a recent experience that within 1 second I did not have my cell phone on me, near me, around me for a few days… I have to notice that we are more addicted to these devices than we should be.

At which point does the tool stop and the addiction begin? How is addiction defined and who defines it? After what happened, I  felt the need to redefine my relationship with technology and make my comments. For each of us may apply something different as our balances are also different. But some general thoughts and notes relate to us all.

My opinion is that it is unthinkable to feel that we are losing control of our lives, to experience anxiety, panic and seizures when contact with this device is lost. We have given too much information to feel threatened when this information falls into other hands. In fact, we are all afraid of this, do not lose this valuable content of our work and personal data. That is why safety services and privacy checks go beyond the bounds of inconvenience and end up being annoying and difficult to use. And where you would do your job in 2 minutes, you do it in 15 because you have to fill in 3 security codes. Because no one trusts anyone and you have to prove that you are not an elephant.

Because this is cultivated behind a society that learns to comply only behind a screen with all the tempting and interesting things that you do not find so easily “out there”. That’s why it’s so easy to use labels as ADD or ADHD. Because when you have so much information you want to touch it all, and when you look at 5 things at once, you have no target. The virtual pleasure we get from seeing other people do an activity that we are interested in or would like to do, creates the illusion in the brain as if we did it. That’s why we identify so much in profiles, pages and content about people and groups.

We can realize how much our life quality decreases when we get stuck behind a screen and reduce our physical activity. We can perceive the health problems behind a sedentary lifestyle. When we ourselves do not seek a walk in the fresh air, to talk to real people up close, or to be alone with our thoughts and allow ourselves to let go. Each of us needs to claim and demand to have a separation of the virtual with the real-life, even if sometimes is hard to understand the limits.

When you are really focused on the moment e.g. a sunset with a loved one near you, it’s nice to take a picture and keep it where it does not distract you from enjoying what is really happening. Let all your senses record, store the moment in every cell of your body. It is no coincidence that sometimes we have such a good time with friends we say “Oh! We forgot to take a photo!”. At that moment we have let our body absorb and let ourselves experience the moment. The here and now.

Mobile phones and all this technology have given us the illusion of convenience and speed while in many cases they do just the opposite. They delay us from our lives. “I will live for a while, one moment to do posts and tags”. And of course, everything is needed and fun. And solutions have been given in some cases. But also what is the cost of being constantly available on more than one device. It makes us lose respect for time. It is taken for granted something that is only fluid.

The long hours of work in front of the screens are tiring both mentally and physically. As a result of these new habits, there are new cervical syndromes caused by the almost uninterrupted use of the screen, and vision problems related to how the lens gets tired of constantly focusing on a light source.

Each of us can find the balance of work-amusement, and when it is observed that we are procrastinating to stop. Many people are helped with a reminder at a specific time that puts a break on use. We have so much time to use in good habits for example reading, working out, cultivating the mind and spirit, self-care.

Of course the technology is great, but we always need to remind ourselves of the conscious and prudent use, so that it continues to be a tool and not our operator. We need constant observation in order for technology to remain in our hands useful and efficient, without overwhelming us and distracting us from other important things in life.

We focus on overuse that also leads to stress, wasted time, difficulty concentrating, adopting bad habits, creating mental health issues.

Some steps that can be taken to improve and balance our relationship with technology are as follows.

  • Reduce notifications from all applications so that you look at your devices less. And do an experiment as you observe how you feel about it.
  • Put a timer to control how much you use your devices. Also, try to tell yourself that “on my next walk or route I will not look at any device and will better observe what is happening around me”. You can choose to take an unusual route even in areas where you move every day.
  • It is very important not to use devices in the bedroom, this is also known from feng shui. While getting ready for bed, turn off the cell phone or in flight mode and in silent, or turn it off completely. If it’s needed  to remain in service in case of an emergency call, have it in another room. It is needed 30-60 minutes before bed to stay away from any screen exposure, computers, TV and mobile phones, in order to calm the body and mind. The habit of watching some series or a movie before going to bed does not help the mind to calm down. The same gradual use of devices when we wake up without holding the cell phone in our hands, it has been done as a first-move-habit to all of us, helps the body and the mind. To give time to the body to be activated when we get up, to do morning meditation, exercise and after we have our breakfast to turn on or activate our cell phones.
  • Conscious and reduced use of social media. It has been shown that when we connect to social media the dopamine mechanism is activated, and as a result it is addictive and the risks of addiction are known. Many people isolate themselves and spend most of their day on social media. Behavioral problems and how a person compares themselves, or being bullied or bullying others. These result in increased stress levels and mood disorders. Be aware of scrolling and how much time you spend, and when it comes to publishing a post, think about whether it distracts you from something else, and save it for later. Observe your thoughts and body, and if there is tension in your body, save the post for later when you are calm.
  • Observe if  the use of technology is based on habit and routine. If you feel obligated or that you have to use it out of habit, take some time with yourself and make sure you make a conscious use or decision to use any devices when you really need it.
  • Finally, a very creative way to distract yourself from the unimindful use of technology is to incorporate new hobbies into your habits.Spending time with your mind and body learning new skills will help you redefine your relationship with the tools of technology.

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