At Change- Gear we have been away on our various Summer holidays. Although we enjoy our work immensely we recognise that taking time out from work and stepping away from our various pieces of technology is important to our physical and emotional health.
In this blog Lucy Faulks from Technotox shares her thoughts around how we can ensure we keep our technology in it’s rightful place and not take over our lives…
Like it or not, we’re permanently glued to our smartphones. Obsessively checking them within minutes of waking in the morning, on the train to work, walking down the street, in front of our desks, out for dinner with friends, while watching TV – even straight after sex!
Hopelessly addicted, the average user now picks up their smartphone 150 times a day. You only have to walk into a restaurant and look around seeing couples rejecting each other’s conversation for the lure of technology, to realise it’s fast becoming a very serious problem.
We would rather interact with our fellow humans online, hiding behind the security of a screen and false ego, than commit to looking someone in the eye and heaven forbid, hold a proper conversation.
This lack of face-to-face connection is having devastating effects on both our culture and personal skills, with social isolation and loneliness levels reaching all time highs (currently on par with early death through cause of smoking and obesity). In Japan, the population is expected to drop by a third by 2060 because a new breed of young men – the otaku – are more interested in manga, anime and virtual girlfriends than building families with real women.
The digital age we’re experiencing – no matter how progressive or transformative – is killing the art of human connection. Young people now struggle to build real friendships because they’re so used to the lack of commitment or personal skills social media sites require. Real relationships are a whole different ball game, complex and effortful, so they are increasingly rejecting them for the comfort of virtual reality.
The endless stream of online distractions and vast cavity of information the internet holds, has also affected our concentration levels, reducing our ability to focus. Holding in depth conversations therefore, without stopping to Google search or check our emails, becomes a struggle.
If we know connection with others is fundamental to our happiness and wellbeing, isn’t it time we make a concerted effort to reverse any negative impact technology’s having on our connectivity?
What can we do to Reconnect?
- CALL AN OLD FRIEND
It’s become the norm to text or whatsapp friends, even send them a quick email between meetings at work, but there’s nothing quite like hearing someone’s voice when you actually take the time to pick up the phone and speak to them. Although you’re still involving technology, connecting voice to voice is far more human than screen to screen.
- PAY SOMEONE A COMPLIMENT
A stranger on the street, your boss or the local chemist. Whoever crosses your path today, make a point of giving them a compliment. You’ll be amazed at the boost a little kindness and human connection (even with a complete stranger!) will have on both your moods.
- SAY AN UNEXPECTED THANK YOU
Unexpected thank yous are the most magical of all. When least expected, try and say thank you to someone for something they’ve done that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. It’s the small and simple things that hold the most power and have the biggest impact on our overall wellness.
This might be at your local hospice or old people’s home, a soup kitchen or community centre. Giving up our time for the sake of others helps make us feel good about ourselves. We’re able to connect on a very real and human level, which cuts far deeper than 20 likes on Facebook.
- CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
Invite your neighbours round for a cup of tea and cake, or contact your local neighbourhood watch party. You might even set up a book swap outside your front door! There are plenty of fun and creative ways to help you feel connected to your local community.
- JOIN A NEW GROUP
Sign up for an art class, join the local choir or attend yoga in your local park. Group activities are great way to engage on a personal level and make new friends. They’ll also help boost your self-esteem!
We hope that you have all found time to connect with those around you this Summer. On holiday I managed to leave the phone at the B&B and enjoy a wonderful meal with my husband in a glorious Basque restaurant, both of us asked ourselves at the end of the eveining “why don’t we do this more often?”. Well we can’t visit a Basque restaurant every week but we can put the phones down more often and talk face to face!!!
For more tips and posts, please sign up at www.technotox.com.
Lucy Faulks, Founder