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Technology, Anxiety and Peace

No Cell PhonesLast week as per tradition my nearest and dearest and I joined a group of friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a cabin in the woods.  The cabin is in the middle of nowhere so there is no cell service, no wifi, no connection with the outside world.

On the first morning I sat down at the dining room table and looked out the window at the beautiful winter landscape and opened my book I was immediately struck by two things.

  1. The quiet.  The serene and calmness of the day.
  2. My underlying anxiety.  My overwhelming urge to check my email, look for missed calls or peruse Facebook.

Here I was in the middle of beauty and nature.  I had literally been counting the days until I would be in this peaceful location and I was FREAKING OUT.  I knew my addiction to technology was bad but I didn’t know how bad it had gotten.  So I decided to practice what I preach (always love those moments, so humbling and so exciting) I just noticed.  I noticed every time I had the urge to ‘check in’ via technology. I noticed every time I wanted to ‘google’ an answer to a question. I noticed every time I wanted to post a picture to social media. To be honest, I was shocked how frequently I had an urge.  I noticed. Every time I noticed I breathed.

Here is what I noticed:

I am not that important.  You know what I missed with 3 days of disconnectedness.  NOTHING. Now granted it was a holiday and with running my business it would be challenging to not be connected for 3 days on a work week.  But my world didn’t stop because I didn’t see everyone’s New Year’s wishes.  My life wasn’t incomplete when I missed the emails trying to sell me the latest program for 2014.

I don’t have to know the answer.  Surprisingly the activity I missed the most was not being able to Google an answer to a question.  To live in that ‘uncertainty’ was terrifying and freeing. To have to debate without a definitive answer. To have to ‘let it go’ was amazing and fun!

Hands down my biggest and most life changing confirmation (I had suspected this for some time) technology has become I cope with my anxiety and innate “Introvertedness”. It is how I can ‘disconnect’ within a group of people.

  • I can’t look up the answer’ while everyone is talking.
  • I can ‘check my email’ when there is a lull in the conversation
  • Feeling overwhelmed? I can dive into Facebook.

So to BE without my security blanket was TOUGH. However I also realized it is a catch-22.  The more ‘connected’ I am via technology the more anxious I become.  As with all negative addictions it is selling me an un-truth.

By the end of our stay I was more relaxed, more grounded and more at peace.  I made a resolution to decrease my technology usage (specifically my ipad usage) and it had been an interesting process. So far some days are better than others.  Because without my technology I have to breathe through the anxiety.  As I always say Living Happier and decreasing anxiety is a process.  The more we can face ourselves, notice and breathe the easier the journey becomes.

I would love to hear from you about technology. Can you relate?  How do you use technology?  Do you limit your technology usage?  Any tips?

2 Responses to Technology, Anxiety and Peace

  1. I doo totally relate with your addiction to technology. I am always checking my phone for new email, facebook posts and reading blogs. Its amazing too how many people text and if you dont respond right away they get upset. I never thought of it though as a way to disconnect from the world…but it is. I see that now that you pointed it out. I always thought we were more connected! I too before reading your post decided to cut back on my facebook and checking email only one to two times a day. I noticed it was a time waster for me. I have more important things to do!

  2. Amen Kim! Hope your Facebook cut back is going well–I have to confess I have slipped back into old habits a few times but it is a process 🙂