If I were to look in my brain, I’m sure I’d see a surge of dopamine, the pleasure seeking chemical that drives us toward addictive substances. Now, I’m a promoter of technology, but the following story can show you exactly where it gets in the way and how we can turn it around and use it for good.
A while ago I was on a walk with my little boy and found myself checking my email and responding to a colleague. I let the colleague in on the fact that I was on a walk with my son. The colleague responded, “That is great, now get off the phone, AND BE PRESENT!”
She was right, I was on auto-pilot, caught in a habitual cycle of engaging with this little machine. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with sending people messages when we’re on the go, but for me, I noticed it was starting to take away from my experiences of being present with the world around me, and with my family.
This has actually become more dangerous as people are feeling compelled to engage with these machines while driving, not only at stoplights, but while actually driving. More and more states are banning the use of interacting with these phones while in the car, unless you are “hands-free.” How is this relevant to you?
If you do not have one of these little machines yet, at some point or another, it is highly likely that you will, so maybe this can preempt the addictive behavior from occurring. What can we do to break this cycle once we’re in it?
We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we can actually use the machines to help us. I have begun to schedule little reminders that pos up with a link to a short video that’s embedded in The Now Effect that helps me take a minute to be present.
Yes, using the technology for good.
Here’s an example of a 2-minute check-in to help us widen that space between stimulus and response, allowing for more clarity and reconnecting us to what matters.