Psychotherapist, Hope Bastine, explores one of the most troubling issues of the 21st Century… our fear of switching off!
Let’s be honest. Technology is here to stay. Human beings are behavioural in nature, and, as with any radical invention, there is anxiety around “keeping up with the Joneses” We also tend to swing from one end of the pendulum to the other when we learn of some new discovery. With the advent of transportation we exercised less; the arrival of the word processors, we lost the habit of handwriting; with the advent of social media, we are beginning to forget how to build relationships.
The New Year brings us an opportunity for us to start the year as we mean to go on. We are entering an era where we are becoming smarter about our health and wellbeing, digital self-mastery now lists high on our self-care resolutions. Blue light is now one of the more significant disruptors of a healthy sleep cycle. We’ve gotten so habitual around our smartphone use that we have yet to develop the healthy habits and growing our emotional intelligence around our social tools.
The advent of technology has transformed the way we experience relationships. Our smartphones offer us great potential for interconnectedness, but paradoxically there is a compelling emotional presence around disconnecting. The crucial distinction is that we are now able to relate WITH technology but not the technology itself. The time has come for us to develop our consciousness on how we manage our relationship with technology. Any and all relationships require effort and purposeful thought.
We need to ensure our life remains enhanced by technology rather than harmed by it. There is a time and place for everything, but the fear of switching off can be all too overwhelming for some. I have some clients who have ingeniously built their life and business around social media. But the dark side is that their sense of identity, meaning, and purpose in the world is too deeply hooked on their device that the thought of disconnecting results in an identity crisis.
As a mindful sleep psychologist for Simba Sleep, I advise people to develop the art of conscious tooling. It can be useful to create a gratitude practice around our devices; our phone has wonderfully become much more than a medium to speak with. It’s our wallet, it holds our plane tickets and our calendar. So think about this logically: do you go to bed with your wallet? Can you be brave enough to place your phone in a charge box just one hour before your plan to go to sleep as part of your sleep ritual?
Switch off from the digital world and re-engage with the physical world – you might be pleasantly surprised! Interpersonal relationships might just be the secret to longevity according to Susan Pinker’s latest research, far beating exercise and healthy eating. But if you suffer from insomnia, physical socialising holds another important benefit: socialising behaviour begins to see an oxytocin increase (the relationship hormone), if we’re lucky this can lead to physical intimacy, and if we’re even luckier, an orgasm, which is nature’s antidote to insomnia!
By Hope Bastine
BSc. (Hons), PGCE, HypDip, RYT 200hr, MBCT/MBSR Cert, MSc., PhD (candidate)
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