Most of us can’t go a day without using personalized technology, particularly in the form of our computers or smart phones. I’ll be honest… Sometimes I can’t go a even a few minutes without it…
We have it so close to our fingertips, at nearly every moment of the day that it almost becomes a part of us, and we feel incomplete without it. We use it for socializing, communication for playing games, to get our news, and all sorts of other wild and mind-bending purposes, reasons and experiences.
We tend to feel naked, vulnerable and anxious if we can’t have it… when our phone goes missing or the battery in our tablet dies or when the WI-FI connection is lost…
This technology has done a great deal in helping us to do our jobs, to connect with others, and to stay informed. But, it’s also become one of our greatest escapes, and we so frequently feel totally, completely and utterly helpless without it. And while technology provides access to nearly all human knowledge, it also provides us access to a near limitless supply of stress-inducing things!
In this way, technology is a double-edged sword. It can help us a ton in our pursuit of great feats and accomplishments, and equally, it can cause us great stress. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s helping and what’s hurting us. There is no universal “rule” in terms of “when we should take a break” from our phones or computers, but we can all benefit from developing our self-awareness around what works best for us.
One major indicator, that we might consider taking a moment away from technology, is when we feel the urge to pick up our phones or other devices in an effort to “get away” from difficult feelings, sensations or emotions. Sometimes our minds and hearts require our full attention to deal with things that make us feel uncomfortable. We may try to “fight” off, or push away these feelings, but we can never force ourselves to get rid of them by trying not to have them.
Often times when we try hard to ignore or suppress them, they only burrow even father down and live longer. Stressful thoughts, emotions and sensations tend to act like seeds, and avoiding them is in fact a way of watering them, and they can grow into some really fierce and prickly plants, with deep roots, later on.
This doesn’t mean that we should wallow in these hard emotions, but instead we can work on acknowledging them and be present with them, and do our best to avoid being judgmental towards them as they come into, and move out of, our awareness.
Using our smartphones and social media when we are stressed out is common, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be able to achieve this every time, but when we can, and do, we may begin to notice the benefits of allowing ourselves having these difficult feelings.
So, maybe the next time we feel a sudden, panicky urge to pick up our phones, we might consider looking at what’s behind this urge… even if for just a moment, we may ask ourselves, “what kind of emotion am I having right now? What thoughts are coming up?” Or, “what sort of sensations am I experiencing in my body? and, is there something I can do that is meaningful to me?”
Technology is a huge part of our life! But sometimes we use it to avoid feelings, and end up having more intense ones.
We all need technology and benefit greatly from it. At times it’s helpful for us to feel connected and helps us to learn. Other times it becomes a way to get away from feelings. A good practice is working on checking in with ourselves and ask, “what am I feeling?”
Having a weird feeling? Got an urge to pick up your smartphone? Maybe take a breath and smell the fresh air instead!