Smart phones, tablets, computers, virtual assistants (Alexa, Siri, Echo), televisions - our world is a WIFI-filled climate of distraction. We can quickly access the latest news, check the weather, and instantly touch base with family and friends, but we do this at the risk of our mental and emotional health. Recent research has found that checking our phone, Instagram, or Facebook account feeds the part of our brain that registers gratification. In fact, we often check our phones just to get the gratification response created by a like or text. Building strong relationships is difficult when a screen is an obstacle to conversation and connection. Our self-esteem may also suffer when we look at our friends’ postings and believe that others live more interesting, more fulfilling lives than we do.
Now, no one is saying that we should toss all electronics and go back to rotary dial communication. However, setting limits for us and our families on when, where, and how often we use our phones/tablets/electronics is a healthy decision. You may want to set rules that limit the use of devices when with family and friends.
- Have everyone place their device in the middle of the table when gathered for dinner-anyone who reaches for their device is instantly visible to all. They can’t sneak a peek under the table!
- Unless absolutely necessary, leave the electronics out of the bedroom, and you will fall asleep more quickly and sleep better. Disconnecting at least an hour before you intend to sleep is ideal.
- Recognize that your desire to check the phone is a consequence of using it and make a choice to fight the urge.
Disconnecting from the distractions caused by phones, tablets, computers, and televisions will help you connect with yourself and those who are important to you!