Now, more than ever before, I feel like it’s really quite easy to get into a state of overwhelm. Our world is filled with a never-ending barrage of notifications, updates, ads, and pulls for our attention. One great quote that helps put our relationship with technology in check, is ironically from 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 and disconnect, not be swallowed up by virtual worlds.
Creating time in my life to unplug and disconnect is essential to my overall health. My brain needs a break from constant stimulation, and although technology helps me to stay connected, constant connection is not natural, and can even be harmful.
Here are some of the best reasons why we should all disconnect on a regular basis:
To live in the present.
When we pick up our phone at a 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. Putting the phone down and the laptop away allows us to spend time without distractions. I try to schedule one hour of solitude per week, and it helps me feel a greater sense of calm and centeredness in my life.
To reduce urgency.
In the world of emails and texts, things that are not urgent can feel like 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 people we meet from all over the world. But it also has a downside. It can foster comparison and create feelings of jealousy, or FOMO (fear of missing out), or even, loneliness. Life goes in stages, and most people only post their happiest, best versions of themselves. It can be hard to remain grounded in reality and remember that everyone has bad days too—they’re just not posting that selfie all over. The best solution for me is to limit my time spent on social media and only follow people and accounts that make me feel good and lift me up.
To just take a f’ing a break.
One thing I absolutely love to do is to choose an extended period of time when I will take a conscious break from technology. It’s like an unplugging vacation. By setting this time aside and consciously sticking to it, I get to feel what life without the constant barrage of technology feels like. And I usually crave social media less when I go back to it. Taking a technology-free vacation, whether at home or on a retreat, is one of the healthiest things I’ve done for myself.
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