Do you ever imagine what communication looked like 100 years ago? If you’re curious, just grab your phone and… wait, don’t do that. Resist that urge for a moment.
In the last couple decades the manner in which we communicate has changed so drastically it makes the experiences of even one generation ago sound archaic. For instance, I remember my second grade best friend moving away and the colourful sticker-covered correspondence letters we shared as she became my newest pen-pal. The coveted letters that came occasionally in the mail were my only links to her. As I got older the telephone was my lifeline out of the house, but I had to share it with my entire family. I remember constant lectures from my parents about the bills I racked up. Long-distance wasn’t cheap. If you’re my age or older, this all sounds normal, but try talking to a high school student about it - trust me, they look at you like you’re from another planet.
And then Google, smartphones, and social media burst onto the scene.
Connecting is easy these days. It's cheaper than it's ever been and we can connect whenever we feel like it. Even when traveling to remote destinations, you can replace your SIM card and you can access WIFI to tap back into the expansive connective network in the palm of your hand. There's a part of me – and most of us, I’m sure – that’s obsessed with this technology, but I’m also becoming more aware of the negative impact this connection is having on my life.
While technology arms us with undeniable advantages when it comes to staying connected, that vibration in your pocket comes with a catch. Technology addiction is increasingly recognized in public circles, and issues related to it are rising to the surface with rapidly increasing frequency in my counselling sessions.
Think about it - do you feel naked without your phone? Helpless? Ignorant? How many of us feel pulled in too many directions all at once? There are likely several things requiring our attention both of the digital and real-world variety, but lines can usually be drawn back to our reliance on technology all the same.
As I've explored the realm of mental wellness and inner strength I've watched as the knots tied between ourselves, our devices, and our connection to the media have grown tighter and tighter. I've seen how it affects our relationships with our family, friends, and our work.
And a lot of people are struggling to get free.
I’ve seen a steady rise in individuals who are recognizing the problematic relationships they have with their devices and their readiness to seek out guidance. I’ve helped clients make changes they never thought possible.
And all these experiences, both as a professional and as a human being, have led us here, to the pages of this book.
I was compelled to write, compelled to share stories and strategies to serve as testimonials of what may lie ahead for you.
Or what you might already be experiencing.
The impact of social media and technology on our wellness is both wide and deep. Should we hide in our beds and pretend smartphones haven’t been invented? Most of us would end up with a phone in our blanket tents anyway! That's not the plan with my book. I want to help you find ways to incorporate technology and social media into your life without it taking control. This book contains strategies that allow you to continue using technology while acknowledging and managing the toll that being connected can take. The ideas in these pages are borrowed right out of my public speaking engagements, social media seminars, and media appearances. I want to share with you concepts I’ve integrated into my own life - workable alternatives I’ve introduced to individuals with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. I'm excited to share this book and help you untangle.
With all that said, please know there's only one agent you can truly trust to be the ultimate advocate for your personal mental health and emotional well-being.
Chapter 1: Technology is Stressing Me Out. Why?
"How much time do you spend plugged in during the course of a normal day? For many of you, the first things that come to mind may be your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and at what point in the day the connections occur.
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