The current world of being personally disconnected whilst we are in a more connected electronic world
The whole concept of connection is of interest to me. With the internet and social media we have today, we indeed should be more connected than ever. However, it saddens me to see so much disconnection in the world. Seeing people walking along the streets with their iphone in front of them, not looking at the people around them, or the beauty of nature, as they check their emails, messages, facebook or instagram. It also makes me wonder about the loss of connection with families as I often see families out to dinner and they are all looking at their iphone instead of having a good old fashion conversation.
I am not for a minute dismissing the current world of connection through the internet. For a lot of people who are lonely, isolated, depressed, with mental health issues or being unwell, this link to the outside world can be a life saver to them. But I wonder have we gone too far?
There are meditation Apps you can get which show you where in the world other people are meditating at the same time as you – amazing!! To feel that energetic connection with others who are thousands of miles away – or in the next street, is something I feel very grateful for.
Of course the topic of addiction needs to come into play here as well. How many are addicted to their iphone/ipad or computer? What would it be like to have one day a week where you are electronic free. Some people feel like their right arm is missing if they don’t have their phone with them. So can we become addicted to electronics? Yes absolutely, it can take over your life. People can become addicted to smoking, drinking, gambling and drugs, which are often ways of zoning out and avoiding difficult feelings. However, people can also become addicted to exercising, eating healthy food, cleaning and yes social media and electronics.
Some would say that having an addiction to social media and electronics is not in the same category as addictions to substances and gambling, however the reality is that being addicted to electronics can have negative impacts upon your relationships and your connections. Not only connections to others but connecting with yourself and what you need.
I have personally made a commitment to not having any electronics in my bedroom – no I phone, computer or ipad and I consciously do not look at my iphone for the first hour after I get up. Being in my own business, my telephone is important to me, but so is my balance and connection with myself. When I get up I do my morning yoga and meditation, have breakfast and then look at any messages. Initially this was hard for me to do and then I realised that I could have a problem here if I cannot leave the outside world alone and just be with me.
Set out below are some strategies on how to take control and gain more connection with yourself and others:
1. Challenge yourself to be mobile/computer free for the 1st hour of the day.
If you don’t do anything different nothing will change – how about giving it a try. You have nothing to lose and the ability to gain more connection with yourself, with others and with the environment.
Swap the morning check into your email, Facebook or Instagram by taking this time for you. Perhaps go for a walk, stretch, do some yoga, meditate, read the paper, have a conversation with your partner/parents/family over coffee or breakfast.
Imagine what it would be like to check in and connect with yourself, with your own needs before you dive into the electronic world, your work and checking out what others are doing on facebook. Give it a try and start to take back control.
2. Set boundaries – you do not have to always be available or switched on
In today’s world with modern technology, you can be reached, or reach out to others at any time of the day or night. How about setting some healthy boundaries around technology habits. Try putting your phone on silent or not answering or checking messages after a certain time of the day/evening. This is particularly important if you work for yourself. I know as a therapist, I need to have these clear guidelines in place, so other than an emergency (if I have a client in danger of hurting themselves) I make it clear that I am only available during working hours. Otherwise having a lack of boundaries in this regard can contribute to burnout.
So no need to be plugged in all of the time. Try unplugging from time to time and enjoying the connection with others or YOU.
3. Phone free zones
It is important to create some phone free zones in your home. Phones can create a barrier between the person using the phone and the other.
Some phone free zones to consider might be – the bedroom, the dinner table, or when you are out with friends having a meal.
I understand that it is enticing to pull out the phone and take a photo of where you are, who you are with and then post it on social media, however, when you do this you are not being present and in the moment with where you are and who you are with. Be selfish and keep it for yourself, rather than needing to share it with others.
These are some suggestions on ways to become more connected with yourself and others around you. In doing so and trying out some of these ideas it is also about taking back control in your life and let’s face it, often life can feel a bit out of control.
If you want to gain more connection – with yourself, others, the environment, and with your true passion, meaning and purpose –
Join us in beautiful Ubud Bali for our Exploring Connection Retreat
31 st May – 6 th June 2018