Technology has been a remarkable force in our lives and continues to improve our lives in a variety of ways. However, if we are not careful and conscious of our use of technology, it may be detrimental to vital aspects of our lives. It is imperative that we maintain awareness of our intentions especially when it comes to the use of the many devices that we have become attached to in order to function effectively and efficiently. Otherwise our consciousness can be hijacked by technology and before we know it we look at the clock and realize we’ve been scrolling on Facebook for five hours. I’ve done it and I’m pretty sure you have too, right?
I really enjoy observing people in public. It’s kind of an obsession of mine. This being said, during my observational expeditions it is very common to witness people walking along the street heads down involved in their Twitter lives or sitting in a restaurant with their partner, each on his or her phone typing or scrolling away. (Perhaps they are ordering their meals or texting each other!) My observations continue to be consistent across a variety of environments. This has become the norm and I am certainly not judging anyone that does it because I often discover that I am doing the same thing without awareness. Thus, this post comes out of my personal experience and my desire to point out three specific ways technology has not improved my life and has actually hindered it.
There are three areas that I noticed were being affected by the constant use of my cell phone and other technological devices. If you are similar to me, you will realize that this may also be the case in your life. I would say there are plenty of human beings that have had their consciousness hijacked by technology and perhaps aren’t even aware of it. The first step we need to take in the change process is to become aware and then come up with a plan to change the behavior. So let’s get to it! I will present three areas that may be affected and tips to prevent a negative impact on your life.
1. Being in the Present Moment– Life consists of what is directly in front of us. We call this “now”. This is the unique and precious present moment that we are given. Using technology consistently throughout our daily lives often causes us to miss the miracle of the moment. We don’t embrace the sky, flowers, or any of the beauty that exists in nature. We may not even embrace the road ahead of us if we are texting and driving. We are often caught up in whatever is going on in our email, text, or the eighteen social media feeds. These moments make up our lives and we need to be present for them as much as possible. Technology often takes this away from us. I suggest putting down your device throughout the day and focusing on the present moment and its infinite beauty. Take a walk without your phone and experience nature and the important moments going on in your life outside of the online world. Practicing mindfulness and being completely in the moment will add immensely to your life and you will desire to experience it much more.
2. Technological Anxiety– Technology has created a much bigger world with unlimited access to knowledge, shopping, blogging, social activities, and up-to-the-minute communication with anybody in the universe. This has created anxiety and obsessions over the huge world opened up on the web. Our friends, bosses, coworkers, and family can be in touch with us in a split second. Consequently we are always anxious about who needs us, what they need, and so on. Always watching and checking our devices creates a state of constant anxiety that is detrimental to our physical and mental health. The constant connection and unlimited choices and options is creating a lot of unnecessary anxiety and obsession. We need to relax and that means relax without a relaxation app! Make time to disconnect from the frantic world created by technology and connect to the real world. Your life may revolve around technology but that world is not your life. Take time throughout the day and in the evening to disconnect and try some activities that don’t require you to be plugged in.
3. Human Contact– Technology has made it possible to communicate with absolutely everyone without having any direct contact with them whatsoever. Do people even talk face to face anymore? Do we write letters or visit people at their houses? We are social beings and we need real contact with each other- not just texting, tweeting, or “liking” their posts on Facebook. Connect with human beings without your phone in your hand and you will feel the difference. Hug someone you love and make time for direct physical contact. Schedule a consistent time to get together with family and those you love for dinner and make it a point for everyone to turn off their phones and interact with each other. It may be difficult at first but the results will be beneficial to you and those you love.
It may be time to regress to our pre-online society in some aspects of our lives. We may have disconnected from human life a bit too much and begun living in the iCloud more than is necessary. The fact is that we are no happier than we were before all of this technological advance. I am certainly not saying to give up technology because it definitely has great benefits. However just like anything else it has some consequences when we go to the extreme. Simply be mindful and aware of how much you are relying on technology and if it is interfering with the three important aspects of your life that were discussed. Change is made a little at a time, so practice stepping away from technology a little at a time. You will be amazed at how much more enjoyable and calm your daily life can be without a device glued to you!