Connected 24/7

MENOMINEE – The cell-phone calls, text messages, emails, social networking, are now a part of our everyday life. They, at an alarming rate, have crept into our lives over the past 20 years and have impacted us, both positively and negatively. By that, I mean we are in constant contact with work, friends, and relatives for 24/7.

This contact is great for sharing information, but there is a trade-off. It is the loss of privacy and solitude which increases stress. Time alone allows us to rest and relax decreasing our stress.

Many reminisce about the quieter times when we enjoyed uninterrupted moments with family, friends, or just being alone allowing our minds wander without intrusions. This enabled us to recharge.

Those who have never experienced this downtime may not understand the enjoyment of being unconnected. The unforeseen danger for them is stress. Studies have revealed that stress can severely affect individuals, both physically and emotionally.

I was caught up in this world of connectedness, until I realized how it was affecting me.

So, how do you help yourselves and your children or grandchildren to reduce the amount of intrusion in their lives? The answer is by example:

1) Turn off your smart phones, I-Pads, and other electronic media for 30 minutes per day.

2) Provide examples on how to spend the 30 minutes, such as to go for a walk, bike ride, listen to relaxing music, or meditate.

3) Document your thoughts in a journal or diary.

4) You may discover that you want more than 30 minutes; by all means, experiment with it.

Some may say that “I can’t afford the time to do this.” I say you can’t afford not to do it; especially when health and life could be affected. So, I challenge all to whom this article is applicable, to try disconnecting consistently, and hopefully discover a less stressful and enjoyable life.

Dan Paul is a retired school administrator. His columns, which explore family relationships, are published monthly in Lifestyles.