Yes, we all rely on our phones, computers, the internet, social media for connecting with people we care about and information we care about, more and more and more. And there may be some hidden costs coming to light; research indicating that the systematic, algorithm-driven capturing and thus fragmentation of our attention and the deliberately built-in potentially addictive tendencies of programs running on our devices are something to seriously pay attention to.
I’ll be teaching some of the latest research – and suggestions of how to stay connected and still remain consciously productive – in these upcoming East Coast trainings:
Recovering from Digital Addiction: Helping Clients Discover Real Life
Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Washington, D.C.
March 24, 2017
Brain Care is Self-Care: The Neuroscience of Well-Being
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Stockbridge, MA
March 31-April 2, 2017
Resilience: The Neuroscience of Learning to Cope with Disappointment, Difficulty, even Disaster
Learning and the Brain conference, Arlington, VA
April 8, 2017
Bouncing Back: Rewiring the Brain for Resilience and Well-Being
Cape Cod Institute, Cape Cod, MA
June 26-30, 2017
In the meantime, please check out this wonderful article by Elisha Goldstein and especially the delightful 4-minute video about how technological advancements could be humanity enhancements, if we consciously choose that.
You may have already realized that the geniuses behind many of the apps and media websites that we visit daily have crafted their apps to play on our anxious and addictive tendencies. Why? Because the more frequent and longer our eyeballs stay on a page means they can sell advertisements for more $$$.
Does it matter that it makes us more distracted, listen less to the people around us or increase mortality rates for car accidents?
Take a moment and watch this brilliant short video…you’ll love the graphics and the artistic spoken word.
So what does it mean to spend our time well? Or maybe a better question is what does it mean to be more intentional with our attention?
At this point, most of our brains have been trained by the tech’s environmental cues to jerk over to it the minute we either hear it, see it or feel it. Is it Time Well Spent to get sucked into 30 minutes of Facebook messages? Is it Time Well Spent to get pulled into the binge watching of Netflix as the ticker counts down to the “next episode?” Or walking around the street staring down at our phones? What would you really rather be doing?
Technology is amazing, our phones are now our everything, we use them to navigate much of our lives now. So we can’t, nor do we want to just put them away.
However, I’ll argue that our environments play a major role in our health and well-being. If your phone is always lying out, you’re going to be pulled to look at it more and when you do, it’s been designed to play into your brain’s attention control centers so you look at it longer. Then we make the app and media companies more money because they can sell ads for more :).
This is just reality.
If you’re wanting a bit more control and freedom to really choose when you want to engage your tech, I’d suggest a couple things that can really help:
- Reduce Environmental Cues with Phone Storage – No joke, consider finding a place in your house to put your phone away where you can’t see it. You may still check it from time to time, but it won’t be an environmental cue anymore. Some ideas are Kitchen Safe: Time Locking Container, or the Ryobi ES9000 Phone Works Storage Case, or the Time Lock Safe.
- Turn It Back into a Phone (Data Off) – You can just go in the settings of your phone and switch the data off…that way you just turn it into an (almost) old fashion phone…no alerts and you can’t even check if you wanted to.
I would experiment with these two and see what you notice…you may just experience more freedom and some more Time Well Spent :).
Creator of A Course in Mindful Living
PS – If you really can’t help yourself…here’s a link to a Toilet Paper Holder for your phone ;).