Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?
“I am an Addict”, I say jokingly sitting on the creamy white leather sofa of my parent’s living room with my head down, eyes glued to the smart phone on my right hand and the trying to download a movie on my laptop on other. I do not want to look at my mother’s face although she stands there in front of me. She slides in and settles herself gingerly among the thick cushions of the couch. Suddenly the room gets very quiet like the quietness before a deadly storm.
“Is it drug?” She asks in a grave curious voice.
I try to install the app and say. “ No, mom, it is not drug. You watch too much of the useless news on tv. Let me finish this hold on.”
“I can imagine from the news, how the alcohol affects the brain and turn the people into something else. I should have given you more attention. I think you need more affection but remember we always love you and your sister…’’ Her stressful and concerned voice prevail in the room.
I stop in the middle of downloading the app and sharply turn towards my mother. She tries hard to control her emotion so before she starts something else I say, “ Mom, do not worry, it is not alcohol or drug I am addicted to the technology: my smart phone, facebook, apps, netflix… so on. I am planning to stop this addiction. I want to avoid the negative effect on my sleep pattern and productivity.”
Before I finish the sentence she wipes her tears from the corner of her eyes.
“Technology definitely serves a purpose: Provide access to some incredible information, engaging with people at a global level, promise of new ideas, continuous chatting with friends.Technology is spectacular but one should not be a slave to the technology.” She says warmly but with a strong emphasis on the sentence. My dad quickly closes the laptop sitting on his rocking chair from the opposite side of the sofa and joins in the conversation.
We sit together to check the reality.
The stress overpowers when I am away from the fleeting pleasure of my cell phone. I often imagine my phone is vibrating in my pocket. I reach for it subconsciously and with a jolt realise that it is either in the laptop bag or in the bedroom- on silent. Somedays I watch Netflix until I feel sleepy which hampers my productivity in the next day. The TV drama, buffering or fast moving pixels trigger the mental exhaustion. Other days I even do not respond to some important calls and envelop myself in new apps, push notifications from facebook and twitter, off topic articles emails…So I have some new ideas to stay away from the blinking objects for a while.
- Turn off the Push notifications.
- Use auto lock at least to 1 minute because as the screen goes black, it seems easier to ignore.
- Limit apps.
- Be in the moment. We need to be mindful in what we do in each moment.
- Develop interpersonal social skills: Responding to people, initiating and actively participating in conversation.
- Switch the phone to airplane mode. That way you can listen to music,take photos or jotting down notes but can not access to text, tweet or mail.
- On the weekend take a long stroll outside. It is better for both the mind and the body.
- Instead of watching late night movies read a book and go earlier to bed. A restful mind will always be more creative and amazing.