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9.13.2011

technology detox.

Over the last several decades, we have seen technology absolutely explode. Words like smart phone, social networking, emailing, blogging, web surfing, channel surfing, wireless hot spot, 3g & 4g technology, Ipod, sexting, and "crackberry" have all become part of daily lingo. Phrases like "text me", "facebook me", "link in", "IM me", and "follow me" have become our way of connecting up with new and old friends alike. Think back to the last seven days- how many times did you check your email? Open your phone? Send an instant message? Watch TV? Watch videos online? Login to facebook? Tweet an update? Use StumbleUpon? Text a friend? Follow someone new on twitter? Listen to streaming music? Download a new App on your smartphone? Connect via a wireless hot spot?

Ok, now ask yourself- how many letters did you write? Journal entries did you pin? Walks did you take? Pages did you read? Baths did you take? Board games did you play? Friends did you see...in person? Museums did you visit? Books did you purchase...yes, the paper kind? Meditate? Play an instrument? Frolic around outside?

The scariest part comes when you actually consider your own daily habits. The studies and trends compiled by researchers speak volumes in themselves, but are you part of that huge percent who is absolutely technology obsessed? Who can't go 5 minutes without using a computer, the TV, or your smart phone? If this is you, then it's time for a little intervention- TECHNOLOGY DETOX.

What happened to coming home after work and spending time making dinner with your family, room mate or significant other? Then sitting down to eat together, free of the sounds of the TV, music, and the sounds of your cell phone? Then cleaning up and maybe playing a card game or going for a walk? Then having some time in bed with your hubby or boyfriend to talk or to get busy? It's true- every aspect of a relationship is under fire when technology overwhelms your life. When did watching 3 hours of TV come before sharing conversation on the back porch? When did posting on someones facebook wall become a legitimate way of being "in touch" with a friend? It's so deeply concerning when you break it all down. Is technology getting in the way of your sex life, your physical health, your emotional wellness, or your relationships with friends and family? When we take the time to remove ourselves for more than 10 minutes, we quickly realize just how concerning America's obsession with technology has become. So we must ask, what do we do to break the cycle?

Start by asking yourself why you check your email or phone as much as you do? Why is it necessary to check your boyfriends twitter every 5 minutes? Are you so involved because you are afraid of missing something? The only thing anyone should be afraid of is missing out on real life! Take your eyes off your computer screen, away from your cell phone, and flick the TV off- look around you. Sadly, some of what you will see is actually what you are trying to avoid- car after car driving by with the driver on their cell phone, laptops open, TV's on, and people glued in every way. But what you will also notice is that there is a great big beautiful natural world out there with so much potential. A variety of things to do and enjoy without having to be "connected." I urge you to break the cycle of addiction and try to "power down" for a day. Of course, if your job requires you to be on a computer then you have no choice in that regard during your workweek. Instead, try not accessing your personal email or facebook for 1 day, or better yet 1 week. Scary, I know. If that gives you anxiety, try going out for a few hours with your cell phone powered down. Go for a hike or a walk. Grab coffee with a friend. Drive to grandma's house in the countryside. Open your eyes and you will see that the possibility of fun sans technology are endless. Give yourself a little reality check; it's good for your mind, body and soul. I promise, it's OK to not respond to an email for 24 whole hours, not to update your facebook status for 3 days, and to miss an episode from a TV show. The world is not going to come crashing down, nor is technology detox going to kill you. In fact, it will likely give you the slap in the face you need to realize what kind of addiction is plaguing America today more than ever.

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