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  • Writer's pictureKyla Winlow, LCSW

Disconnect to Reconnect

Technology has grown tremendously in my lifetime. I remember the thrill of dial-up internet and MSN messenger. Now, most of us have high-speed internet available on our smart devices nearly 24/7. While this can be helpful in so many ways, it can also leave us a bit too connected to technology and disconnected from ourselves, others, and the world around us.

When is it time to disconnect?

  • Do you feel guilty about the amount of time you spend on your device? How do you feel about the amount of time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc?

  • Has looking at your device become a habit? Like you’re standing in line and you reach for it without even thinking about it?

  • Has someone you love voiced concern about how much screen time you have?

  • Does your screen time bring you anxiety?

  • Do you feel bad about yourself when you compare yourself to the stories people post about their lives?

  • Are you missing out on what is happening in the world around you?

You may not even notice it yet, but it’s likely you have at times spent too much time with technology. Most of us have. And we may not even be aware of it but I’d challenge you to spend a day noticing how often you reach for your phone or laptop. And notice if that interaction feels too frequent or is causing you distress. If the answer is yes, let’s help you get a break!

Tips to help you disconnect:

  • Try waiting one minute or more before looking at your device when it pings/rings. Notice what your automatic reaction to your phone sending you an alert. Is it anxiety? A sense of immediacy?

  • Turn off all the ring, sound and vibrate mode notifications on your phone. Practice being in control of when you interact with your device- by checking it when you want- not when it pings or rings.

  • Practice separating yourself from your devices. Leave your phone in your glove compartment for an entire meal out with friends. Enjoy being fully present in whatever activity you are doing without being distracted by your phone or having to document the experience. We can show people we value what they are saying and value our time with them by being fully present.

  • Reconnect with your senses. The Greenbelt in Austin is one of my favorite places for this! I leave my phone in my car and practice absorbing nature. However, you can do this activity anywhere! Walk yourself through each of your senses, giving yourself time to really notice what you experience through sight, sound, smell, taste, and physical sensations.

What boundaries do you want to set up for yourself? Need a little nudge to limit your technology use? Check out some of these apps that can help:

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