Driven to Distraction in the Digital Age

— Are Your Relationships Being Impacted?

Notice how natural it feels to just keep walking over to look at your inbox when you’ve sent emails and are waiting for replies? Or how easy it is to use up 15 minutes mindlessly trolling through Facebook posts when you probably could be doing other more productive, like focusing on a task at hand, doing some relaxing activities or how about no activity at all, like lying down or sitting and doing a gentle meditation or breathing practice? I sure find myself in these mindless habits.

It becomes so easy with screened distractions pulling at us to stop having great chats with your loved ones over a meal or coffee about each others’ day, and not even notice it’s happening.

The bigger conversations around sharing plans and dreams, or about something troubling that’s been weighing on your mind often get pushed to the bottom of the list and begin to brew into emotions of discontent.

“Closeness depends upon this rapidly disappearing phenomenon of undivided attention spread over time,” says Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist and co-author of Married to Distraction. Just think how hard it is to complete a work project amid a stream of interruptions, he says. “What you give up at work is depth. And what you give up in relationships is intimacy,” Hallowell says.

Many of us, myself included, could benefit from consciously becoming aware of how we’re using our technological devices and how they may be keeping us from interacting face to face with our loved ones, friends, colleagues and ourselves. When we set the intention to choose to have more time for conscious and loving relationships we might choose to turn the devices off or avoid them so we can tune back in to our partners (and ourselves). Some couples designate a device-free hour, day, or week so that they can spend more time together without a device between them. Do you have any other good ideas?

Enjoy some ideas from the Gottman’s in their series called Relationships in the Digital Age (click here).

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