Let’s be honest. The first thing many of us do when we wake up in the morning is pick up our cell phones. Little by little, we start checking our e-mails, read the news, and catch up on our social media feeds. Without realizing it, and before we even have breakfast and get ready for work, we have already devoted a great deal of our time to a screen, to a machine.
Then, on our way to work, we turn on the radio to hear the latest news – mostly bad news, or the latest gossip from showbiz. Finally, when we get to work, we turn on our computer and focus on our daily tasks, and when we finally have the chance to take a short break, the first thing we do is go back on to social media, so we don’t “miss out on anything”. The craziness of FOMO (the fear of missing out).
But it does not stop there. When we leave work, we keep getting e-mails and calls from work, and as soon as we get home, we “catch up” with our families, and then we try to escape from our routine with more social media, watching a movie or the latest series, set an alarm on our phones, until we fall sleep feeling exhausted. And the cycle goes on and on…
We cannot catch a break from the world – the digital world! We are under an endless pressure to grind all day long, to make as much money as we can, to be fit, to meet the standards imposed by the influencers on Instagram. It seems like we must be available 24/7, whether it is to attend
work-related issues or to be bombarded with information of all sorts. Sadly, we are so used to this routine, that we now consider it normal, just a part of living in this postmodern world.
Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with working hard, being informed, logging into social media to catch up with our friends or wanting to be fit and successful. The point is that we push ourselves too hard by being hyperconnected all the time and, eventually, this behavior ends up taking a toll on us. Studies have shown that hyperconnectivity has numerous effects on our mental health. Firstly, over-stimulation by notifications, the fear of missing out on information, and the subsequent mental load are a source of stress for our brain. Our capacity to concentrate also decreases, as does our productivity.
Isn’t that ironic, that the more connected and productive we try to be, the more disconnected we become from ourselves?
What actions can we take to avoid suffering the harmful consequences of hyperconnectivity? First, we must simplify our lives by learning to discern the essential from the unessential. For example, we can start by cutting down on social media, and set some boundaries between our working hours and our personal life. We cannot allow ourselves to be available for work 24/7, and to answer every single mail or call immediately, unless, of course, it is something than cannot wait. We also need to learn how to disconnect and establish healthy boundaries that help us clear our minds and relax -spending quality time with our loved ones, taking walks with our pets, learning new skills, reading a book, practicing yoga, working out, helping our community. There is a world of endless possibilities out there!
Devoting more time for ourselves and others fosters deeper relationships, makes us more creative and more productive. A harmonious life is all about finding the right balance between every activity we are involved in – event rest. Even God knew about the importance of resting when He created His masterpiece, this supreme universe! So, connect with yourself amidst this hyper connective world; we have been given one, wonderful life. Cherish it!
Now that you have finished reading this article on a screen, get up, breathe in some fresh air, and disconnect from a screen and connect with the reality outside. 😀
Juan Pablo Benítez Quintero
Translation Services Coordinator