There is no doubt that the technological advances we have made in the last forty years or so are staggering. And with artificial intelligence just around the corner, there is undoubtedly going to be another enormous shift in how we live our day to day lives.
But what I think is fundamentally important to mention here is how this is affecting us now and what things we should be considering, going forward. We can pretty much connect with anyone in the world with a push of a few buttons, but are we truly connected?
Humans Are Wired For Connection
If you go to any restaurant, cafe, or walk along the street, many people will be on their phones. Their heads are down, looking lovingly into the eyes of a glossy screen and checking out all their social media feeds, emails, etc.
Missing out in the world around them, and left feeling not good enough in some way or another. Counting the number of likes on their latest post, or angry as to why their friend has not commented on their photo, can leave many feeling unworthy, lonely, and disconnected.
Humans are wired for connection, and it is as vital as food, water and shelter. Newborn babies who unsuccessfully attach to their mothers, may not survive, as human touch, love, nurture and affection, all help the baby to grow and thrive.
Distractions are everywhere, and we have to become aware of how much time we are spending on our devices, as this could lead to problems. I have seen it many times at restaurants where the family have come out for dinner, and everyone is on their devices, including the 5-year-old.
A scene in many homes of an evening is the TV on, everyone in the lounge, glued to their separate devices. No interaction, just admiring their friends latest selfie or liking another pretty pointless photo.
This is creating a disconnection.
I understand we have to move with the times, and I am all for that; however, connection is vital for our well-being, as we all want to feel loved, seen and heard. Having a conversation, spending time together, laughing, chatting, eye contact, listening, are all beautiful ways to connect.
Small Daily Changes Can Make A Big Difference
If you are spending too much time on your mobile phone, here are a few simple ideas to bring into your everyday life:
1. If you leave your phone by your bed at night, and you’re straight on it before you have got up in the morning, my suggestion would be to leave it in another room.
Looking at your emails, messages, social media feeds, news, before you barely opened your eyes, will whether you are aware of it or not, affect how you feel.
As you could be left worrying about how many emails you have got to deal with, or annoyed because your friend has posted another gorgeous photo of her perfect family, or you are worried about the state of the economy or climate change.
Instead, slow everything down, ignore your phone, put your needs first, and give yourself the opportunity to fully wake up.
Essential for our well-being to gently ease into the day.
2. When you have a family meal at home, or out with friends suggest to everyone involved that this time is for real conversation and no phones allowed. If you have older children in your home, you may find this a little more difficult; however, if you do this all of the time, it will become the norm.
Research on family mealtimes has shown that these times create better relationships, and builds a sense of belonging. To add to this lower rates of obesity, depression, teen pregnancy, and better academic performance will add to the benefits.
3. Limit the amount of time you check your phone. The majority of us do this regularly. Could be initially challenging as you may not realise the amount of time you spend on your phone until you begin. Reduce to checking your phone every hour, or if you are brave every two.
The main benefit to this is you will have more time and energy to focus on your other tasks, and potentially have more time to connect with loved ones and time for yourself. A win all around.
4. When anyone comes to talk to you, make sure you give them your full attention as there is nothing more irritating than speaking to someone who is distracted by their phone. Giving a person your undivided attention will help you to create a greater connection.
Being listened to showing the other person, you respect what they have to say is a beautiful gift to give another person. As this person will come away feeling valued and heard. Necessary to do this with all of your relationships, as this will improve the quality of all your connections.
5, Suggest to your colleagues or family members when you have a meeting or a get-together, that everyone puts their phone to silent.
This will have several benefits, including being able to fully focus on the person in front of you, being more time-efficient, and streamlined.
As you can see, there are a few small things you could do with a lot of benefits, and I’m sure you can think of a lot more.
If you believe your phone is not intruding on your life, leave it at home, or notice what happens if you forget your phone. For most of us, we react as if we had left our child at home or lost an arm or leg!