You know, in our world of fast technology, getting answers to pretty much any question we could ask in seconds, staring at screens for maybe hours a day and so many other things that supposedly make our lives “easier”, we really need to stop sometimes and remember what’s important in life.
The illusion of our modern world is exactly what I just mentioned in the sentence above… that somehow all our stuff makes our lives easier.
The question is, does it really make our lives easier?
Do we need to be able to find the answer to almost any question we can ask in 2 seconds? Do we need to have the latest and fastest iPhone or computer available? Do we need to have a certain amount of followers on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube or TikTok? Do I need to have thousands of people visit my blog every day? (I don’t, by the way!) Do we need to be able to always keep up with technology that is changing rapidly?
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The answer, while sometimes it might seem like yes, is certainly no.
I Love Technologyyyyy
Have you seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite, where Kip sings that at his wedding?
Little did he know how prophetic that would be that he sings that.
Anyway, whether you’ve seen it or not, we all know that it has become the anthem of our age.
Most of us really do love technology, whether we dare to admit it or not.
Some other sad truths about or day and age are that stress is our drug of choice, and our drug is giving bad side effects and making us only more sick and lethargic.
The irony of all of this is that I write this on a computer, on a piece of technology that I will be encouraging all of us to step away from often throughout the day. But sometimes you have to break the law to try to enforce it, I guess.
There are differing statistic about cellphone usage, but a rough statistic says that most mobile phone users check their cell phones up to 63 times a day, and Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily. Check out this great article for more information.
It’s really, truly, an addiction.
Sorry for the reality check, but we all need it.
And it’s not a healthy addiction at all.
People aren’t necessarily living out on the streets and pushing shopping carts around while their teeth are falling out from this addiction. But maybe mentally the effect is similar.
I Used To Hate Technology
I really used to hate technology.
I remember I was around 15 or 16 years old when texting over cell phones became a thing, and I hated it at first.
And I remember when people first started doing the thing where they would text and ask before they would call and say something like, “Hey can I call you?”
When I read that I’d be thinking, yes of course you can and you don’t need to ask, that’s how we’ve always done it… you just call!
My philosophy about technology used to be that I hated anything that wasn’t either useful for cooking/life or art.
So I loved technology like for music and landline phones, microwaves and stuff, but hated technology for mindless entertainment.
My outlook in technology has definitely changed in the last 10 or 15 years, but I just wonder now if all our cell phone and computer usage is doing us more good than harm?
And the answer I usually come to, still, is that it probably does more harm than good.
So even though I don’t really hate technology anymore… I almost do. I spend way more time on technology than I would like to, if I’m honest. So I’m preaching to myself too in all this.
Now my relationship with technology is a love/hate relationship. I love that it makes certain things in our lives easier. But I hate how complicated it makes life in general.
We have to work so hard to have money to keep up with ever-changing technology. We get stressed out because of our virtual lives, and for more reasons that I feel like I could write about in this article.
But the truth is, and if you’ve ever seen the movie The Social Dilemma you understand this, they are trying to make social media, cell phones, and technology in general more and more addictive all the time.
Take Time To Unwind…
I like to make things really practical, and that’s for everything.
So when it comes to taking time to unwind, let me now give you some really practical stuff you can do!
First, try monitoring your screen time each day. Try counting how many text messages you send and receive in a day. Count how many times you open your phone in a day.
These can definitely be some sobering reminders of how much time we may be spending on our computers or phones.
Some practical things you can do are, for one, turn off notifications on your phone!
This is really important, if you want to even try cutting back on phone usage.
I personally have turned off notifications for social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and others. This will really help you. You can also turn notifications to silent, or no vibrate.
You can also turn off the “raise to wake” mode on your cell phone.
This is the setting that makes it so that whenever you pick up your phone or raise it, it automatically switches on the screen. This will really help you stop opening your phone as often.
It’s also a good idea to use “do not disturb” mode as often as you can. Pick times to put it into “do not disturb”, or simply put it in “do not disturb” whenever you’re not using it or in need of it.
Now, for some good things you can do instead of spending hours on your phone or computer for mindless entertainment…
Go for a walk. Enjoy the beauty of nature of whatever surroundings you have and move your body a little. It’s good for you in so many ways!
Read a book, work on a hobby, journal, try to just sit with your eyes closed for 5 or 10 minutes and relax, meet with a friend in person and leave your phone in your car!
You could even watch a movie. The good thing about it is that movies end after a certain time and it’s usually easier to just take a break from screens after a movie.
Go for a drive or go out to eat or to a coffee shop. You could also work on improving at the art of brewing coffee at home.
Spending time on a hobby is really a big one…
With me for example, I’m an avid musician.
I know that I only have a certain amount of hours in day. If I want to spend 3 hours or more practicing, which is actually my goal, I know I only have a certain amount of time for other things… including just sitting around browsing Instagram on my phone!
Music is more than a hobby, but whatever your passion is, spend more time on that. You can never go wrong spending time on your passion. And if it’s something with phones or computers, find another hobby that doesn’t involve a screen or virtual reality and do that!
In order to spend 3 hours a day practicing piano or music, I really need to tell myself sometimes to get my butt off the cell phone and work on what I really love doing!
There really are so many things we can spend our time doing to improve ourselves that are much, much healthier than being engulfed in a screen making a virtual world.
I’m sure you can also get creative and think of other ways to do that too. Try it, limit your time online and spend more time enjoying reality.
In a world where stress and technology addiction abound, you’ll thank yourself later for doing it.
You only have one life to live, and the more you invest yourself in real relationships and people, and the things you love doing, the more fulfilled you’ll ultimately be.