A guest post by Lauren Stewart
I remember when life was much simpler. It was before the Internet, cell phones, iPads, iPods, smart phones, etc. were such a fixture in our lives. I remember getting AOL for the first time and not being allowed to use it when I got home from school because when you went online the phone wouldn’t work.
Now look at our culture. Even little kids have iPhones. We are constantly Googling, going on Facebook and people are using technological devices simultaneously and constantly. Technology is a great thing and it helps us work more effectively and provides an unlimited outlet for entertainment. Yet how does that affect our relationships with others and the world?
You see it at restaurants or other public places all the time. People enjoying a nice dinner, yet both of them are texting or emailing on their smart phones and not even talking. They are wasting this precious time they have together. At the movie theater there are more and more announcements and commercials reminding people to turn off their phones and enjoy the movie. Why do we even need these reminders? If I am paying to see a movie and I want to enjoy it, why would I text or call someone else and chat the entire time?
So I challenge you to take the challenge of unplugging yourself from time to time. For example, at dinner time, turn off your cell phone, take a step away from your computer and iPad and allow yourself to enjoy the conversation of your loved ones. Take the time to chew your food and appreciate the food you’re eating.
Once you’ve mastered a dinner free of technology, move forward and experiment with this task even more. Schedule times or even days when you take breaks from the endless technological devices you use. Feel yourself relish in the simple hours of living in the moment and not worrying about that next email, if your Facebook post got any comments or not, or if anyone new is following you on Twitter. Take this time to spend time with friends and family, enjoying hobbies without interruption or simply relax and meditate.
Once you’ve made unplugging yourself a priority, keep track of how it makes you feel. At first, it will probably make you feel disconnected and even frazzled and anxious. You have to remember that you can check your email and catch up with Facebook later and it will be okay. The more you participate in unplugging, the more in tune with your world you will feel.
You will be able to enjoy a conversation with a friend and really listen to what they’re saying. You will be happy to walk in nature without glancing away to look at a glowing screen every few seconds. You won’t have to worry about missing something in your real life because you’re too concerned with your life on the Internet.
The Internet and technology is a wonderful thing that should be used in moderation. I promise you’ll feel more mindful and happy if you schedule times to unplug. The technologies will always be waiting for you when you need to use it again.
About the Author
Lauren Stewart is a freelance writer and marketing consultant from Michigan. She has a personal blog called Lauren’s Thoughts where she discusses relationships, technology, beauty, fashion, health, fitness and much more. You can also find her active on Twitter and Facebook.