"Staying connected" vs. "making connections?"
There are distractions everywhere and it’s so difficult to balance staying connected with … well, staying balanced! Every day we’re inundated with constant information, and the worst offenders are often sitting quietly (or not so quietly) in our pockets, our purses, or on our wrists. How many times a day do notifications come through your phone or watch to keep you “connected”? We don’t want to miss out. We don’t want to miss an important news headline, a new blog post (ahem), a comment or post from our best friend on whatever social media platform is most popular today, and we DEFINITELY don’t want to miss what book we should read next or what TV show everyone is talking about. It’s a constant firehose of information, with seemingly no end date.
Some of this type of connection, many would say, is necessary and a foundational part of life in the times we’re living in—especially with the current pandemic, quarantine, and social distancing. However, what are we missing out on just to keep this intense connection to the “outside world?” Are connections to people, places, and experiences still being made?
Are we putting as much effort into our day-to-day, in-person relationships as we do our online presence?
Staying present in the moments of our physical lives can create strength in our relationships and our self confidence. Utilizing technology in a positive way can help us get closer to our goals and priorities. But, technology can also cause distraction and waste time by taking away from our people, goals and priorities. Time is something none of us want to take for granted. Pouring into those around us and creating memories to help build and support the life we dream about is an attainable goal!
If any of this is resonating with you, maybe it’s time to check in and see where you sit on the “connection” spectrum. Better yet, walk away today knowing a few steps you might be able to take to stay more present, stay more connected, and still make connections.
It might seem like the simplest thing, but just do ONE thing at a time. It’s easy to overlook the most obvious solutions to our issues, and that’s usually because those solutions aren’t easy! Whatever your attention is trying to focus on today, eliminate all other distractions. Reading a book? Put your phone in the other room and turn off the TV. Need to send a few emails for work? Close your internet browser, any messaging apps, and all other tabs. By eliminating distractions, you allow your focus to be in the present.
Whatever “play” looks like for you, do that. Go for a walk, run around the backyard, do a cartwheel. Stop and take five minutes to not take yourself, or the world around you, quite so seriously.
Apply this to any of your daily habits, like eating breakfast, tucking your kids into bed, or asking your friend or significant other how their day went. Instead of rushing through, enjoy the moment and truly spend time during these interactions being fully aware of what’s happening.
Turn it off.
We say it all the time, “turn off the technology.” Our brains might feel like they crave the constant entertainment and information from technology, but it’s so important to step away sometimes. Turning off our devices and technology allows our brain and body to become present in what’s happening around us, the environment we’re in, and the moment that’s surrounding us right now … which is often what we’re truly craving.
Journaling is sometimes just a fancy word for “brain dump.” We carry a lot of stress and anxiety from day-to-day and writing it all down can take away some of the burden of worrying or concerning ourselves too much with what might happen in the future. It might seem silly at first, but allowing ourselves a chance to scribble out all the things taking up space in our minds can help us stress less and focus more on the “now.”
Need a journal to get started? Grab a pen and paper, or check out a few options for a new one.
Use all of your senses.
Surrounding ourselves with technology and having that constant stream of information or entertainment from online games, the Internet, and information can distract and desensitize us from using some of our most cherished resources—our senses. No matter where you’re at right now, take a moment and practice: see, hear, smell, taste, touch. The world is a pretty amazing place and taking time to notice it won’t disappoint!
Having trouble clearing distractions? Read up on ways to stay focused when distractions are inevitable.
Remember that technology can be a fantastic tool. The magic little rectangle in your pocket or purse can keep you connected in terms of work, family, friends, and information. But, like with all things, it’s just as important to find balance between staying “connected” and creating and maintaining “connections.”
Staying connected can keep you informed and in the loop … but connections are what build a sense of community, can help us feel loved and cared for, and create trusting and lasting relationships.
What are some of your own frustrations with trying to stay present and how do you manage them?
Let us know in the comments below!