Happy, Healthy Mind – Disconnect Friday
I am sure you are aware that there have been many studies and talk lately revealing how much time people spend on their phones. One study said we check our phones over eighty five times a day, with Millennials spending a third of their waking hours on their phones. Other studies researched the impact that our phone usage is having on the quality of our life and relationships. They say our phone usage will affect our brains, and therefore our attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts. I read this in the Huffington Post: “Research has shown technology use can impair attention, productivity and memory, dampen creative thinking, increase stress levels, reduce sleep quality, and lead to “cognitive errors” like forgetting meetings and walking into people.”
I am bringing this up because, until last month, I honestly didn’t believe that I was being affected personally. I didn’t feel I spent that much time on my phone or searching the internet. I have always prided myself on, not only my self control, but my efforts to be ‘in the moment’ with others. I seriously thought that for one, I wasn’t addicted to my phone usage and second, I didn’t spend that nearly as much time on my phone as those around me. Well, I was wrong, my quality of life was being impacted negatively, and I didn’t even realize it. This vacation was life changing in so many ways, and I would like to explain…
You see, at the end of last month, my husband and I sought out a remote cabin in the Sequoia National Forest. We wanted a completely relaxing vacation to reconnect to each other and go completely off the grid. And I do mean, completely. Both of our jobs necessitate us to be on the internet everyday. And our favorite form of entertainment is, you guessed it, online. Not to mention there are the endless emails and news updates to catch up on. So, we purposely picked a cabin described by reviewers as going back to the 80’s. No internet. No cell service. No cable TV. No DVR. None. Zip. Nada. I thought no big deal. I’m not online that much anyway, right?!?. Wrong. Some of the things I immediately noticed is how often I reached for my phone, keeping it by my side at all times. Even if it was to check the time multiple times a day. Or my email. Or my text messages. Or Google News. Not to mention, all my social media accounts. I quickly realized it was probably a good idea to turn it off completely. That was a weird and foreign idea. Before I left, I loaded up my IPad with lots of ebooks, music and movies as the cabin only came equipped with old VCR movies and board games. I was surprised that I ended up using my IPad on only two very brief occasions. (Not to mention I packed lots of groceries as there were no stores or restaurants even close to nearby.) Am I painting a clear picture of remote?