A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the yoga principle of “softening into” a pose, instead of forcing ourselves deeper. I suggested that this is a principle that we can all apply in our approach to self-care, relationships, and other aspects of our lives. In that post, I mentioned that I’m a yoga enthusiast. I am also a fan of our local public radio station, and yesterday, I got to hear part of an interview with teacher and speaker Max Strom that spoke deeply to what I believe as a therapist. If you have forty minutes, I’d encourage you to listen to the entire interview.
Technology and Relationships
If you don’t have time to listen, that’s okay too, because today’s post is inspired by that interview. I have written before about the need to be aware of our relationship with technology, to be willing to take technology “pauses.” I have shared lots of articles in my Mid-Week Balance roundups encouraging us to be more mindful of how we interact with technology. And during the interview, one issue that Mr. Strom raised was this: our technology eats into our time to be in relationships.
Whether those are relationships with ourselves or relationships with those around us, if we are scrolling through our tablets, checking our phones, watching our televisions, surfing on our laptops, or playing on our game consoles–we are often disconnected. Disconnected from our own thoughts and feelings. Disconnected from our kids or partners. Disconnected from good friends. And yes, I know that online relationships can be real and powerful. I’ve written about that too. But setting that aside for a moment, I’d invite you to take one day to assess your own relationship with technology.
- Do you have some form of technology (phone, tablet, etc) by your bedside? Do you interact with it first thing in the morning?
- Does your technology go to the breakfast table?
- Do you use your technology in the car?
- How often during your work day are you connected (I know that for many of us, this is a LOT) to some sort of technology?
- Do you interact with phones, tablets, televisions, etc during lunch or dinner?
- Are there times during the day when you can’t see or check phones, tablets, etc?
- Do you use technology immediately before bedtime?
Disconnect to Reconnect
I don’t know how you feel about technology. I know many people who enjoy their technology and don’t want anyone trying to limit how they use it. If that’s you, please know that I’m not talking about giving up technology altogether. (Given how engaged I am online, that would be a hypocritical request.)
I am however, inviting you to experiment a bit. Give yourself a half an hour where your can’t see your phone, check your email, or update a status. Instead, use that time to deliberately reconnect in a relationship–with yourself or someone else. You might spend that half hour outside, or meditating, or just catching up with a family member about how your days have gone. Try to notice how you feel after you spend that time. Did it enrich your day or lighten your stress? Please feel free to share the results of your experiment in the comments.
Image Credit: Photo: “Unplugged”by Gabriel Rocha via Flickr under Creative Commons License