Sounds all around the noise almost is unbearable with notifications and bells and videos . Everyone is looking down and all of a sudden I’ve had enough. I walk out. I shut my phone off, done with looking at texts to see if those bubbles are there pending a response, wondering what the response will be. Craving connection.
Have you ever noticed when you have no expectation of hearing from someone or when you are not waiting for something to happen, how at peace you can be? Its not often these days it seems that we actively take that break to shut down our phones. After all what if something urgent happens? If you have children this fear is the ultimate justification for staying on line at all times.
Born in the 70s in the time before cell phones , I try to remember what it was like to have periods of no communication . We passed notes at school and we had time to think before we sent. I am amazed now in this instant response and gratification world at how bold people are. The put things in writing and send without much of a second though of reaction or consequence. I was one of those people that when texting started to take off, when I had my first Blackberry at work I was hesitant to communicate that way, as the phone just seemed better and real time. Or with Facebook, how exposed I felt posting something that a bunch of people would see. It felt like public speaking. Maybe that was due to my own insecurities and fear of judgment, and also that when you post or text, even though its real time, the feed back loop that you may claim you don’t need is an emotional trap. Knowing if when and by whom things will be read, wondering how it will be judged or interpreted. Since then the desensitization of social media has made it no big deal. That along with the understanding that there is now so much content that your voice or message is lost in seconds to the abyss of competing content.
So where does this all go? Despite the level of information at our fingertips, We are so saturated with notifications coming constantly we are more stressed, anxious, self critical, insecure, tired, depressed, and unhealthy, constantly comparing ourselves to others.
We love text because its an easy way to share information without needing to engage in a more meaningful way that might take time out of our days. We have more contacts that ever, that being said, most of those I speak with will say as they have gotten older they have less people they are considering true friends that they know would support them in a crisis, that they choose to actively plan time with, that they express real love for. I am no exception.
I have not even touched on the downsides of TV as this is just another form of exposing ourselves to more information and providing another vehicle for judgement of others, comparison or just mindless time wasting. Studies have shown that watching TV actually reduces your life span by 22 min for every hour you watch (British Journal of Sports Medicine,2017) and that two hours a day can increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease by 20% (JAMA, 2017). Not to mention that TV alters your brain chemisty to passively receive information which is a marketer’s dream.
So if we can do a couple of things to really be healthier and happier, why not a technology break and instead planning that face to face engagement? A weekend of logging off , which includes not just putting your phone away, but watching TV or a blue screen of any time? Not waiting to hear from someone, not mentally being anywhere else but where you are and who you are with. Actually able to take in your environment with all your senses. When you are less pulled and more push, how do you feel? If this concept is really uncomfortable, that is where the work lies for your personal growth. Feel it and find it.
What impact will this have on your relationships with others and more importantly with yourself? It may force you to finally deal with those things that you easily put off by being so busy. Its not a bad thing. Its getting back to our true nature. There is love and beauty everywhere. More noticing that and less notifications.