Put the Electronics Away and Connect!

Last night while out to dinner with my dad I was appalled to see little mini-tablets/TV screens on every single table in the restaurant. The lady who sat us down showed us what it was for, how to use it, including how to access visual menus and games, some of which were free and others which cost $0.99 to access, and also how we could pay our check at the end of our meal. As soon as the hostess left our table I turned the electronic thing around so that it would not distract us from our personal, one to one connection time. At this, my dad gave me a high five. He, too, was appalled by this concept. 

I get that we live in an age of technology and that more and more of our lives are headed in that direction (haha, I mean, I would know, I do live in Silicon Valley), but the idea of having technology blaring in my face when I was trying to get in some quality time with a loved one was not only annoying, it felt overly intrusive as well.  

We are constantly bombarded with technology all around us. Most of us have a smart phone, a laptop, and a tablet. And sure, those are all great ways to stay connected when we are not able to be face to face with people, but when we are face to face, it is important to honor that time as sacred to the connection. 

Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on connection. Think back to evolution. Our ancestors needed to pack together because there was safety in numbers. As a result, it is innate in us as human beings to connect with other human beings. Yes, sometimes this connection comes in the form of phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media. However, person to person contact in vivo is most essential.

Research shows that being with other people makes us feel happy. According to research from UCLA neuroscientist, Dr. Matthew D. Lieberman, human connection is as essential to our wellbeing as food, water and shelter. There’s other research, by Dr. Dracher Keltner out of UC Berkeley, about the Science of Touch, and how touch is healing to the human body. And, as great as technology is, it hasn’t yet been able to develop a way for us to be able to touch though the phone. So, take all the research, combine it, and viola! We’ve got THE NEED TO CONNECT! IN PERSON!

Another funny scenario which I can guarantee you’ve experienced: How many times have you been out with your friends and have seen (either in your own group or a nearby group) that although everyone is together, they aren’t truly connected because they are checking their cell phones, texting other people, posting on Facebook, etc? I bet you’re laughing because I know you know what I am talking about. 

In a world where we are so bombarded with technology and technology is the norm, you might be reluctant to do what I am about to suggest (I mean, you could have an EMERGENCY call come in, right? But how often does that REALLY happen?). Just try it. I dare you. Take a stab at trying the suggestions below and notice how your levels of connection change and how your relationships grow and blossom:

1. Silence your cell phone when you are out with friends or loved ones and ask loved ones to do the same. 

2. Turn it into a game: I once heard of a group of friends who when they got together they all placed their cell phones face down in a big pile. The first person to grab their phone to look at it had to pay the whole tab. I thought it was brilliant. 

3. Leave your cell phone in the car.

4. Turn off the TV at meal times. 

5. Make the dinner table an electronics free zone. 

6. Allot times for yourself that you can disconnect from electronics as well. Not only is connection to others important, connection to ourselves is important as well. 

Give it a try. Go out there and see how this goes. You might find that you like it and that it is nice to get back to good old fashioned connection with friends, family, your significant other—or, you might find that the people you hang out with have nothing in common with you and the relationships were not true relationships at all (more on that another day). 

If you are ready to make change in your life and improve your relationships, contact us today for your free initial consultation.