Unhappiness Problem #3: Over-Reliance on Technology

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It sometimes scares me how quickly technology changes. I often wonder where technology could possibly be 10 years from now, when I can barely keep up to date with the new iPhone now. Anytime I’m waiting in line for something, or taking public transportation, or early to class, what do I see around me? Everyone within close proximity glued to their smartphones, checking their email, or posting a status on facebook. So, I call this unhappiness problem the over-reliance on technology.

While the rise in technology has many notable benefits, including quick information at our fingertips, and the ability to multitask efficiently, it has not come at zero costs.

The negative consequences of over reliance on facebook, iphones, twitter, and whatever else, is a decrease in social interaction, a decrease in attention spans, and often decreases in self-esteem as a result of less meaningful conversations and more social comparison via our social networks. As the book Bowling Alone notes, there is an ever-rising increase in social isolation and depression much as the result of the rises in technology.

Any yogis out there will also be quick to assert the lack of mindfulness that exists in our modern world, and I would be inclined to agree. When was the last time we sat in silence? Or waited in line without checking our phone? Sat outside with a family member with no distractions, just pure conversation?

If you are anything like me, those moments are probably few and far between.

So what’s to be done?!

  • Try blocking out times in each day in which you turn your phone off–don’t worry, the world can wait!
  • When interacting with people, turn off your phone or put it on silent to be fully invested in the moment
  • When taking public transportation, try reading or another filler activity to avoid aimlessly surfing facebook while transiting
  • Turn off your computer/laptop/TV a couple hours before bed and do another activity instead
  • Meditate/do yoga-above all things, this has made me the most mindful! If scrunched for time, focus on your breathing when you are walking to class/driving/waiting in line.
  • Be sure to make time for face-to-face social interaction weekly, and take the time to interact with people on a daily basis (i.e., coworkers, people in your classes, etc.)
  • Consider taking a weekend getaway in which your laptop stays at home, and your phone stays off–totally liberating!
  • Spend more of your free time investing in hobbies, rather than spending time on facebook or surfing the web aimlessly.

Thoughts? What do you do to detach from technology?

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