Disconnect To Reconnect
Updated: Apr 13
I can still remember when our family purchased our first phone with a built-in answering machine. What an invention! We no longer had to worry about missing a business call. Those were the days of Sunday afternoon drives to look at the scenery and, if lucky, stop for an ice cream cone. Kids played outside from sunrise until after dark with no need to check in at home. We could go camping for a weekend or vacation for a week and never think once about missing out on a call or wonder whether there was breaking news. What a simpler time. Our connections then were mainly face-to-face with neighbors in the back yard, with family during holidays and with each other over meals, three times a day.
Technology has changed the world in so many incredible ways, but when it comes to truly connecting with each other, ourselves and our world, something is missing. We are in touch instantly with many people which makes us feel connected, but research has shown that loneliness is at epidemic levels and is as harmful to our body as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes per day. I rarely meet with a coaching client who doesn’t report high levels of anxiety and stress. Some of those clients find it difficult to turn off their mobile devices for a 60-minute conversation with me. Why wouldn’t we feel stressed when the expectation is that we are available at all times, to all people—we are “on call” 24/7.
Research has found how critically important human connections are to our mind, body and spirit. According to the Blue Zones, the people around the world who live the longest, healthiest lives make human connections a top priority. Mindfulness research has demonstrated that happiness, joy and the answers to our deepest questions are found in silence and being fully present in the moment. Spending quiet time in nature has been proven as effective for depression and stress relief as medication and talk therapy. One of the most import aspects of healthy relationships, and one that is often discounted, is active listening. Many clients report that there is no one in their life who really listens to or hears them. At a time when we are supposedly more connected than ever before, why are so many people feeling so alone, and more importantly, what can we do about it?
Be intentional with your tech time. Plan for time in your day to unplug. Even 15 minutes a day can improve your well-being.
Don’t take your technology to bed with you. Keep that time before bed as a time to unwind, relax and prepare yourself for well-deserved sleep and repair.
Be fully present with your family, friends and colleagues. Unless there is an impending emergency you need to be available for, turn off the technology and give them the gift of your presence. Nothing says “you don’t matter to me” more than having someone look at their phone or watch while you are telling your story.
Reconnect with what really matters to you. You may first have to spend time determining just what that is at this time in your life.
Recharge yourself as often as you recharge your phone. Every aspect of your well-being needs quiet time to reflect, renew and reconnect with what brings you joy.
Technology is demanding, if we allow it to be. You have the power to take back control by disconnecting for a while. Try it and see the difference it can make in your life.